Hundreds of protesters carrying Palestinian flags and wearing keffiyehs took to the streets of the Loop Tuesday evening, one day after Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least 59 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border as the U.S. embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The protest kicked off with a rally near Grant Park, on Michigan Avenue near Congress, with participants chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and “Hey Netanyahu, what do you say? How many kids did you kill today?”
The demonstrators then marched — staying largely peaceful and keeping to the sidewalks — to the Israeli Consulate at 500 W. Madison for another rally.
“We call for the world to stop Israel’s terrorism against the Palestinian people,” said Hatem Abudayyeh, of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network. “Israel is firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters.”
On the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel — which the Palestinians refer to as Nakba or “catastrophe” — Monday marked the deadliest day on the Gaza border since a 2014 cross-border war, according to the Associated Press. By late afternoon, five minors were included in the 59 Palestinians who were killed in the mass protests, and more than 1,300 were wounded by gunfire.
Israel said it has the right to protect its border and nearby communities, accusing Gaza’s ruling militant group Hamas of carrying out several attacks under the guise of the protests, the Associated Press reports. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, came to Israel’s defense, saying no member “would act with more restraint than Israel has.”
Dunia Ghanimah, 20, who lives on the city’s North Side, one of the hundreds of protesters who marched Tuesday afternoon, said her 13-year-old cousin was shot by Israel Defense Forces and was critically wounded during protests Monday in the West Bank.
“He’s in the hospital in a coma, they don’t know if he’ll make it. … He’s honestly a really funny kid, high spirits, really outgoing,” she said, adding that the boy — her father’s sister’s son — was unarmed and suffered one gunshot wound to the abdomen and one to the back.
“My family is trying to turn our frustration and anger and sadness into activism and demonstrations like this,” Ghanimah said. “We would have come to this protest today anyway, but now we’re even more amped up and I’m personally going to use this energy and sadness for activism.”
Contributing: Associated Press