Detroit shows its soul, as 1000 march for Gaza

Israel/Palestine
on 9 Comments
Detroit

Detroit

Detroit showed its soul at yesterday’s demonstration in solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza.  It  was historic in important ways:

The event was organized in the community by a small group of young adults, most of them leavened as activists in Students for Justice in Palestine groups and other student organizational chapters at Wayne State University in Detroit and University of Michigan campuses in Dearborn and Ann Arbor.  These young but seasoned activists made the jump from campus to the off-campus community, bringing their organizing skills to the streets of Detroit in an event that energized the community.  Turnout was estimated by organizers as exceeding 1,000 — an unusually large pedestrian turnout in this city of car addicts.  The event was well-planned and executed.  The impact was powerful.

The event was not on the familiar safe turf in Dearborn, but in the streets of Detroit, with supporters marching proudly up Woodward Avenue, Detroit’s main street, through the City’s theater, sports, and entertainment district, in the midst of the annual free “Concert of Colors.”  This was an historic act of courage, pride, and self-confidence by the metro area’s Arab American and Muslim communities.  The experience was entirely peaceful, orderly, and positive, with numerous automotive passersby expressing solidarity, many with Palestinian flags streaming from car windows.

Detroit police were helpful and respectful of demonstrators’ First Amendment rights, earning demonstrators’ gratitude.

Most importantly, in this city of colors and solidarity, the demonstration was itself an act of solidarity.   Participants and their youthful leaders came from a broad spectrum of the population, including Palestinian and other Arab Americans, African Americans, Muslims, Jews, and Christians. There were raps from Invincible, an Israeli-American performer, and Will Copeland, an African American environmental and social activist in Detroit. I was proud to be in the crowd.

There are some great photos of yesterday’s demo here, showing its size, by Mirna Haidar, one of the organizers. 

About Barbara Harvey

Barbara Harvey has long advocated for human rights with such organizations as the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights. She is active with Jewish Voice for Peace.

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9 Responses

  1. German Lefty
    July 14, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Action of Solidarity for Gaza on July 13th 2014 in Berlin

  2. Justpassingby
    July 14, 2014, 3:33 pm

    Look at that pic, you have asians, middle easterns, you have westerners, all united against the terror against palestinians, stuff like that makes me glad.

    Good job all those that participated!

  3. a blah chick
    July 14, 2014, 3:43 pm

    My neck of the woods!

    There’s tension here between some African and Arab Americans so it’s great to see the community come out like this.

    • ckg
      July 14, 2014, 11:00 pm

      Me too. I wish I had known about the event beforehand. I would have been there.

  4. ckg
    July 14, 2014, 6:49 pm

    Excellent!

  5. Citizen
    July 14, 2014, 7:06 pm

    The Motor City protests against American Government’s Bias for Israeli criminal conduct. You won’t find any member of the 1% in their ranks, that’s for sure.

  6. rensanceman
    July 14, 2014, 10:27 pm

    The counter demonstration in L.A. on Sunday was well attended, although less than the 1000+ who demonstrated on Saturday. The Zionist crowd was loud and boisterous, and the pro-Israel drivers who passed by were usually belligerent with nasty gestures. And then there was the shooting. A car carrying Palestinians with a large Palestinian flag was stopped in traffic at the epicenter of the crowd where the flag was taken away and stomped on. In retrieving it, the Palestinians were beaten and attempted to leave the scene in their car. Then we witnessed a Homeland Security agent raise his gun and fire one round at the fleeing men! No one was reported to have been struck. This is very alarming that a government employee considered the men to be a threat of such magnitude (Hamas, a “terrorist” organization) that he believed lethal force was justified. Then there were the pro-Zionist who sauntered over sometimes posing as reporters who wanted to interview us. The interviews consisted of their questions, then our answers, followed by their rebuttal of our answers. My sign depicted Mother Therese’s picture saying Israeli Apartheid is wrong. My questioner admonished me for the sign arguing forcefully. We will overcome.

    • ckg
      July 14, 2014, 10:46 pm

      Rania Khalek reports at EI that the local CBS TV affiliate reported the pro-Palestinian protesters in the van as being Hamas. link to electronicintifada.net The CBS affiliate later changed its post but Rania Khalek has the incriminating screenshot. (Slightly off-topic: EI has a remarkable record of publishing screenshots of revised and deleted posts and tweets. Someone on its staff must be continually hitting the ‘Print Screen’ button.)

  7. bilal a
    July 14, 2014, 11:30 pm

    “the Palestine solidarity activists may have been attacked by pro-Israel demonstrators before being shot at by the DHS and then detained by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department ”

    link to electronicintifada.net

    End the Occupation… of America.

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