In the wake of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians and military outposts, Israel’s retaliation has been tantamount to genocide. Israeli officials have declared they would turn Gaza into “rubble,” and have cut off power, food, water, and all aid. They have killed over four thousand and wounded over 13,000 Palestinians as of Oct. 20, and as fuel and provisions run out, this will rapidly increase. Even the few dozen trucks of aid beginning to cross the border will not be nearly enough for the two million people trapped under the siege and bombings. Outrage has spread around the world — particularly after the bombing of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City.
Millions of people have demonstrated around the world against the atrocities committed by the Israeli state. At universities across the Middle East, students demonstrated to end the attacks on Gaza. Across the Middle East — from Morocco to Iran, thousands have protested foreign embassies.
In Tunisia, protests outside the French Embassy called out French and U.S. support for Israel. More than 5,000 in Jordan demonstrated against the Israeli embassy. Halfway around the world, a thousand people rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, protesting American support for Israel.
Elsewhere, from the war-torn streets of Yemen and Syria, to the streets of Jordan and Bahrain, solidarity for the Palestinian people brought people out in mass.
In Iraq, tens of thousands flooded Tahrir Square in the capital. Other protests occurred around the country, and outside the Green Zone, a heavily militarized area of Baghdad where the U.S. embassy is located.
October 23, 2023 In Egypt, these are the first demonstrations in nearly five years, as they have been severely repressed under the regime of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. On Friday, hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered across the country to protest. In Cairo, one protester described the power of the protests: “The police tried to block us from entering [Tahrir] square, but there were so many people pushing through, they just decided to let them through. I haven’t seen the square so full of people in a long time.” Protesters chanted “bread, freedom, social justice,” which was a prominent slogan in the 2011 Arab Spring that ended the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.
Even in countries where the governments have banned protests for Palestine, some have persisted, such as in France where three thousand demonstrated, and in the U.K. and Germany. Under this pressure, governments have been forced to reconsider their bans.
In sports, moments of silence for Israel were interrupted by chants of “Free Palestine,” like at the Baltimore Ravens football game in London. Arab soccer players and other athletes have spoken out in support of Palestine, facing bans and punishment.
The U.S. has also seen a wave of protests. Across the country, hundreds of demonstrations have taken place in the nearly two weeks since Israel’s invasion. A mass arrest of 300 demonstrators was organized in the Capitol building by Jewish Voices for Peace and IfNotNow demanding an immediate ceasefire. This was the largest Jewish-led protest for Palestine in U.S. history.
Despite the protests against Israel’s genocidal policy by millions in the Middle East and around the world, Israel’s attacks continue, fully backed by the U.S. and other ruling powers. The U.S. government reaffirmed its position to stand with Israel, promising billions in additional military aid on top of more than three billion dollars that goes to Israel every year. In so-called democratic countries, demonstrations of opposition to Israel’s massacre have been attacked and banned.
The worldwide protests show the immense potential of the population to break through the national divisions imposed on us. One protester in Iraq said: “We, as Iraqis, know the pain of having an occupier on our land … We stand with [the Palestinians] in their struggle.” We too must stand with the Palestinian people, and demonstrate our opposition to the occupation of their land and destruction of their lives.
As Israel carries out horrific violence in Gaza, we have a moral obligation to show up, speak out, and stand up. We must make it known that the Palestinian people are not alone in their struggle, and that the world is watching! We must oppose the U.S. government’s support of this genocide and take every action possible to activate others around us, by showing up to protests and mobilizing our forces. We cannot be silent while this massacre is carried out!