WASHINGTON (AFP) — Thousands of people demanded an end to Israeli raids in the Gaza Strip in a protest Tuesday outside the US State Department in Washington.
Protestors carrying red-white-green-and-black Palestinian flags and wearing black-and-white checkered head scarves chanted slogans like "Stop the Killing, Stop the War, Stop the Genocide of Palestinians."
Some of them also held aloft banners that read "Stop US Aid to Israel" and "Free, Free Palestine."
An AFP reporter said there initially appeared to be around 200 protestors, but a larger crowd returned to the State Department later in the evening following a march to the White House.
A police officer told AFP he estimated the later crowd at around 2,500 protesters, while organizers said the number was closer to 5,000 people. Police said the demonstration passed off peacefully.
Mahdi Bray, executive director for the Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom group, said seven busloads of people came in from Raleigh, North Carolina in addition to crowds from the Washington DC area.
Bray said he wanted Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace but criticized US foreign policy.
"The United States has not been an honest broker" in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Bray told AFP. "The Bush administration has been the worst," he said.
Activists said the protest was organized by a number of Palestinian support groups.
Among other groups organizing the protest was the National Council of Arabs, Bray said.
Click to view image: 'gaza protests'
|Liveleak on Facebook|