Several thousand protesters marched from Heritage Park to the steps of the Washington state Capitol in Olympia on Saturday, calling for “an end to the siege on Gaza, a ceasefire, and an end to the U.S. aid to Israel.”
“This march represents a critical moment in the Palestine struggle, signaling the consolidation of a mass movement in the United States committed to challenging the decades-long role of the American government in the genocide of the Palestinian people,” said a news release from organizers of the event, including Samidoun Seattle, Falastiniyat, Palestinian Community Center of Washington State, Students United for Palestinian Equality & Return UW, Beldaan, and others.
The peaceful march in Olympia was in solidarity with a pro-Palestine rally held Saturday in Washington, D.C., that drew tens of thousands of protesters, according to organizers.
“This is a march against the genocidal siege being perpetrated by Israel against Gaza, and for an end to the root cause of this violence: the occupation of Palestine,” a spokesperson for the Olympia Democratic Socialists of America told McClatchy. “We’re proud to stand with the 15 other organizations who have endorsed this march and called for an end to all U.S. aid to Israel, and for our state to cut all ties with the apartheid state.”
Protesters at the event called on Gov. Jay Inslee, President Joe Biden and other state and national leaders to call for and encourage a ceasefire.
During the event, protesters laid on the steps of the Capitol, holding papers with the names of Palestinians who have been killed in the last several weeks in Gaza. Attendees also played music and sang together.
Other cities across the world including London, Berlin and Paris also saw protests Saturday, with tens of thousands of people in attendance.
Gaza continued to see heavy air strikes from Israeli forces, Al Jazeera reported Saturday. The news outlet reported that at least 9,448 Palestinians have been killed in four weeks. While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed the attacks are in retaliation for the attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, news reports say Israeli forces have been indiscriminately killing civilians in Gaza.
Leaders such as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken have not called for a ceasefire, claiming that “a cease-fire would simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup and repeat what it did on Oct. 7.”