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A group supporting Palestine march through Spokane/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS

PJALS rally calls for U.S. to cease military support of Israel

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A woman participates in a PJALS rally in Spokane/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS
A woman participates in a PJALS rally in Spokane/Tracy Simmons – SpokaneFAVS

The attention of those ogling the polished, classic cars on display in downtown Spokane Thursday evening was interrupted when dozens of people waving Palestinian flags and shaking “no war” signs marched their way to the offices of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Sen. Patty Murray to show opposition U.S. military aid supporting Israel’s bombing of civilians in Gaza.

Organized by the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, numerous activists — including some from as far as Oregon — took to Spokane streets chanting demands for peace. The activists were also protesting U.S. military intervention in Iraq and the U.S occupation and war in Afghanistan.

At the rally local writer Taylor Weech urged the crowd to educate themselves about government spending and to be an example to future generations.

“Children in this country don’t want to kill children in other parts of the world. Children in other parts of world don’t wish to kill each other. I think we would do really well to listen to them and stop desensitizing our children to this type of violence,” she said, referring to the recent violence in Gaza.

According to the New York Times, there have been about 250 deaths in Gaza by Israeli rocket attacks and airstrikes. The United Nations estimates that about three-quarters of those were civilians and about 50 of those were children.

Weech added that she was pleased to see such a large turnout for the Spokane rally.

A man counter-protests a rally on Thursday in Spokane/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS
A man counter-protests a rally on Thursday in Spokane/Tracy Simmons – SpokaneFAVS

A small group, however, formed a counter-protest to the PJALS event, showing their support for Israel. They carried signs that read “Israel + America partners for fighting Hamas terror” and after a brief confrontation with campaigners from the PJALS crowd began chanting “Terrorism is a crime.”

Similar protests have erupted across the country in recent days, including one in Los Angeles on earlier this week in which a federal officer fired his weapon at men feeling a pro-Israel rally after using wooden poles bearing Palestinian flags to hit protesters, according to the Associated Press.

View more photos of this event on our Facebook page.

Tracy Simmons

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons, who teaches journalism at Gonzaga University, is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 13 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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