Militant Journalism

Chicago rally demands hands off Al Aqsa

On April 18, upwards of 1,000 thousand people showed up in downtown Chicago to condemn the recent aggression on Al Aqsa mosque by Zionist settlers and forces. The demonstration was organized by Students for Justice in Palestine and attended by various organizations including Jewish Voice for Peace and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Similar demonstrations were also held within the last few days, denouncing the attacks and the U.S. government’s support for Israel. 

The rally started off with a series of speeches from Students for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and more. The crowd was a sea of Palestinian flags, pro-Palestine placards and even other national flags joining in to show solidarity. The crowd swelled quickly, and the energy of the organizers was matched tenfold by the crowd. 

Ahmed Zaidi, a student who attended the rally, told Liberation News, “They [Israel] attacked Al Aqsa last Ramadan. Now they are attacking us again. It is clear they want to terrorize us into abandoning our homeland. We won’t let them.”

Shortly after the speeches, the march began. The size of the crowd closed off Michigan Avenue and various parts of the Loop. Several popular chants took over the streets of the city: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free!” and “Hey Hey, Ho ho, the occupation has got to go!” were crowd favorites. The march itself lasted an hour, with some people even joining in from the sidewalk. 

At several points, the march stopped to take over different streets. The organizers used this opportunity to raise demands again, calling for not only occupation hands off Al Aqsa, but also condemning the occupation entirely, as well as condemning the Biden administration for its continued weapons support to the tune of billions in arms per year. 

The attacks have been escalating for the last few weeks. Settler violence, under the protection of Zionist occupation forces, has targeted Al Aqsa and the rest of Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan. Al Aqsa mosque, considered the third holiest site in Islam, was also attacked by Zionist forces during morning prayer on April 15, which lead to multiple arrests of Palestinians and various parts of the mosque being broken. 

As the rally and was happening in Chicago, Israel was dropping bombs on civilian areas in Gaza. 

The march in Chicago concluded in the same location it started, with a series of speeches and a promise of more action. One attendant, who wished to remain nameless, told Liberation News, “Israel has been committing a genocide for so many years. This is ethnic cleansing. Resistance to this will always be expected.”

Feature photo: More than 1,000 people gathered in downtown Chicago to protest Israeli attacks on the Al Aqsa mosque. Liberation photo

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