Milwaukee, WI – Upwards of 4000 people marched in support of Palestine and to call for an end to the genocide against Gaza, October 22, doubling the number of people in attendance at the large march just a week before.
Led by a tow truck decorated in Palestinian flags and a 30-foot banner reading “Love live the popular Palestinian resistance,” the passionate crowd marched through downtown Milwaukee, chanting, “Free free Palestine!” “Biden, Biden, you can’t hide! We charge you with genocide!” and “Gaza Gaza don’t you cry, we will never let you die!”
The march came days after Israeli forces bombed the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza, killing hundreds of civilians who had been seeking refuge, and after weeks of a relentless siege on Gaza that has murdered 5000 Palestinians and counting. Milwaukee and Wisconsin politicians, notably Representative Gwen Moore, Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, still refuse to call for a complete end to the genocide in Gaza despite the clear humanitarian crisis that is unfolding as Israel has implemented a blockade on electricity, water, fuel and food entering Gaza.
In grief and in resistance, the crowd marched and chanted all the way until they arrived at “The Calling” sculpture by Lake Michigan, where they blocked off the entire street to hear speeches around the tow truck that doubled as the stage.
Less than a block down the road was the Northwestern Mutual building, about which Farzad Ghodsi, a member of the Milwaukee Anti-war Committee, told the crowd, “Northwestern Mutual – whose corporate headquarters we are outside of right now – know how profitable war and violence are! Raytheon makes up 3% of their investment portfolio,” Ghodsi said. “And what a sound investment; after all, over the past two weeks their stock has risen over 20%! And all it took was the blood of the innocent! Children and families torn apart to grease the wheels of the military industrial complex.”
Other speakers echoed how the bloodshed and murder of Palestinians fits the agendas of U.S. politicians, and that it will take us, their constituents, rising up and demanding they reverse course for any change to happen. Munjed Ahmad from American Muslims for Palestine-Milwaukee talked about how none of the calls for humanitarian aid from elected officials have simply come from the goodness of their hearts:
“They didn’t let humanitarian aid into Gaza because they love them. And we know that humanitarian aid was a drop in the bucket. They didn’t allow that aid to be nice to the people of Gaza. They didn’t allow that aid because they felt bad for the people of Gaza. No Allah, they didn’t. They did it because we made them.”
This powerful energy of change was felt all throughout the crowd, knowing that the power of the people was on their side. “We have a long, long history of fighting for freedom. We have a long history of enacting change. 75 years of the settler state of Israel will come to an end!” declared Alan Chavoya from the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.
The march was organized by the newly established Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine, a coalition of over 30 organizations calling for an immediate end to the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, an immediate opening of humanitarian corridors in Gaza, the immediate end to U.S. aid to Israel, and the signing by local elected officials of the HR 3103 bill, which states that U.S. taxpayer money will not be used to fund Israeli military efforts.
The people of Milwaukee made it clear that they do not condone the stance of U.S. officials who, despite huge pressure from protests all around the country and the world, continue to vocally support Israel. But as the brutal attacks on Gaza continue, more and more people are rising up and taking a stand, refusing to be silent and complicit in genocide.