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Several hundred gather at Copley Square to show support for Palestine amid growing international crisis

Several hundred people gathered at a rally at Copley Square on Monday in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and to raise awareness for Palestinian civilians currently caught in the crossfire of violence in the Middle East.

A protester displays a “Free Palestine” sign at a demonstration in front of the Boston Public Library. Hundreds of people gathered in Copley Square on Monday to show support for Palestinians amidst ongoing violence in the Middle East. JIASHAN ZHENG/ DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

The rally was organized through a joint collaboration between 10 organizations based in the Boston area, including the Boston chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Palestinian Youth Movement. Members from both organizations gave speeches voicing their support and stance on the conflict.

Lea Kayali, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement and the first speaker of the rally, said she was not afraid to take a stand for Palestine amid backlash against pro-Palestinian stances.

“Millions of people around the world have taken to the streets,” Kayali said. “My people, the Palestinian people, need us now more than ever.”

Amari Butler, another speaker at the rally and member of PSL and the Harvard African and African American Resistance Organization, said she supports Palestine because she believes the Palestinian liberation is “inextricably tied” with the liberation of members of the African diaspora.

Butler was one of the students doxxed at Harvard last week when a conservative group drove through Harvard Square with a truck displaying the faces and names of students linked to a pro-Palestinian statement released by Harvard’s Palestine Solidarity Committee that sparked controversy.

“We understand that it is imperative to stand with Palestine in this time, just as Palestine stands with all other oppressed people throughout the world historically, and that none of us can be free until Palestine is free,” Butler said in an interview after her speech.

Rachel Domond, a speaker at the event representing PSL who works in communications, said she believes the struggles facing Palestinians are similar to those the people of Haiti felt in 1791 when they fought for their freedom during the Haitian revolution.

“Haiti was the first free Black republic in this world, it fought the chains of slavery and stood up and said ‘enough is enough’ and the world wasn’t necessarily on Haiti’s side when that happened,” Domond said. “We’re fighting for people to be free from the chains of colonialism and of apartheid and we know that this is the right side of history.”

After the speeches were complete, organizers led a march to the Israel consulate while participants chanted slogans such as “Viva Viva Palestina” and “End the siege of Gaza now.” Police were blocking traffic as the rally marched down Boylston Street to the consulate and back to Copley.

Yasen Bofarrag, a civil engineer and participant in the rally, said he decided to attend to help send a message to the U.S. government to ask them to intervene. 

“They should enforce Israel to stop this war because there is no reason to make this war continue for a couple days more … there [are] a lot of kids, like innocent people, they died for no reason,” Bofarrag said.

Over 4,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel began launching retaliation strikes in the Gaza Strip, according to the United Nations office of the high commissioner for human rights.

Naseem Said, a senior at Wentworth Institute of Technology, said he came to the rally because he felt that it was especially important for him to show his support for the Palestinian cause because of the city he lives in.

“In my religion, as a Muslim, it’s essential that we stand together to fight [for] the oppressed, no matter where the oppressed are from … and today I saw a chance to get our voices out there, especially in a world and in a city, to be honest, where most people are against us,” Said said.

Filipe Teixeira, a bishop of the Diocese of Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church of the Americas, said he believes that “violence is not going to achieve any peace” for the Israeli or Palestinian people.

“We need to be a bridge to let people know that we all must learn how to live with each other, no matter where we are,” Teixeira said. “The world today is for all of us and we need to put our arms aside and let us all be brothers and sisters. Let us hold our hands and do the right thing, work for peace, work for justice.”

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