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US Protesters Decry Gaza Airstrikes    05/16 09:52

   Pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets of Los Angeles, New York, 
Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and other U.S. cities on Saturday to demand an 
end to Israeli airstrikes over the Gaza Strip.

   LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets of Los 
Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and other U.S. cities on 
Saturday to demand an end to Israeli airstrikes over the Gaza Strip.

   Thousands of people shut down traffic on a major thoroughfare in west Los 
Angeles as they marched two miles from outside the federal building to the 
Israeli consulate. The protesters waved signs that said "free Palestine" and 
shouted "long live intifada," or uprising.

   A protest that started in a neighborhood in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of 
Brooklyn, New York, which has a large Arabic-speaking community, continued 
through the streets for several hours on Saturday afternoon. Footage on social 
media showed people had climbed up the poles of street lights to wave flags 
while others set off fireworks. As the sun set, some protesters walked onto the 
Interstate 278 shutting down traffic in at least on direction, according to 
video posted online.

   Bella Hadid, a well-known Palestinian-American model, participated in the 
Brooklyn protest.

   The marches coincided with Nakba Day, which commemorate the 1948 
displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians amid Israel's declaration 
of independence.

   In Atlanta, hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators, including 
grandparents, teenagers and mothers and fathers with youngsters in tow, 
assembled downtown to wave signs and chant slogans, the Atlanta Journal 
Constitution reported.

   One sign read, "We can't breathe since 1948" -- a nod to the racial 
injustice and police brutality protests in the U.S. during the past year in the 
wake of George Floyd's death in police custody after he couldn't breathe, the 
newspaper reported.

   In San Francisco, a raucous crowd banged drums and yelled "Palestine will be 
free" as they marched across the Mission district to Dolores Park.

   A similar scene played out in Boston as protesters walked a short distance 
from Copley Square to the Israeli Consulate for New England, blocking traffic.

   Footage on social media shows protesters unfurl a banner in the colors of 
the Palestinian flag with the words "Free Palestine" while standing on top of 
the awning of the building where the consulate is located.

   In Washington, thousands of protesters streamed from the Washington Monument 
and to the National Archives. In Philadelphia, demonstrators filled Rittenhouse 
Square to decry U.S. support for Israel.

   At a protest in Pittsburgh, one speaker called on lawmakers to put 
restrictions on how Israel can spend aid from the United States.

   The protests were stoked by five days of mayhem that left at least 145 
Palestinians dead in Gaza and eight dead on the Israeli side. The violence, set 
off by Hamas firing a rocket into Israel on Monday, came after weeks of 
mounting tensions and heavy-handed Israeli measures in contested Jerusalem.

   Israel stepped up its assault and slammed the Gaza Strip with airstrikes 
Saturday, in a dramatic escalation that included bombing the home of a senior 
Hamas leader, killing a family of 10 in a refugee camp and destroying a 
building that house the offices of The Associated Press and other media.

 
 
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