Three community organizations united forces last weekend to hold a ‘Free Palestine’ rally in Boyle Heights. The peaceful protest took place Saturday afternoon at Mariachi Plaza, with participants from all over Los Angeles.
“From Mexico to Palestine. All the walls have got to go” was one of the chants heard all over Mariachi Plaza.
“This is not just about Gaza. This is about every single one of us, every life form in the world,” said Sofia Quinones, who is running for the District 52 seat on the California Assembly in the next elections.
Last month Hamas, the militant Islamist group, launched a surprise attack on Israel. Israel retaliated, leading to the most significant escalation of Israeli-Palestine conflict in decades.
The East L.A. Brown Bears, Los Angeles Mass, and Peace and Freedom L.A. were the prime organizers of the solidarity rally. During the protest, members of these organizations expressed their frustration with local politicians who have not spoken out about the IsraelI-Palestine conflict.
“If you’re not going to get fired, please use your voice and stand in solidarity with Palestine. It’s as easy as getting out and saying, I stand behind what’s happening in Boyle Heights in support of Palestine,” said Sol Marquez, member of Centro CSO, a Boyle Heights-based activist group.
Many organizers and protesters emphasized the importance of solidarity between the Latino and Palestinian communities. Members of Centro CSO said there is a similarity between the Israeli army and the Los Angeles Police Department.
“The police departments here have terrorized our neighborhoods and our families. Israel trains US police departments in tactics of oppression… The same tactics are being used on African Americans and Chicanos,” said Gabriel Quiroz, member of the Police Accountability Committee with Centro CSO.
After several speeches delivered by community organizers, the large crowd marched to City Hall in Downtown LA.
“Please keep making posters, putting them on your car windows and showing our support in any place that we can,” said Marquez.