October 18, 2023
From Fight Back News

Group of activists march with signs and Palestinian flags on a sidewalk

Grand Rapids, MI – Hundreds gathered in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 15 in the afternoon to support the Palestinian resistance against Israeli apartheid. They joined a worldwide solidarity movement in response to the Israeli government’s retaliation against the Palestinian resistance launch of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.

Speeches from activists and community members set the tone for the day’s demonstration. The speakers addressed the crowd passionately about Palestine’s century-long struggle against oppression and denounced the current propaganda of Western media. Since October 7, major news outlets and U.S. politicians have spouted intentional lies fueling anti-Muslim sentiment at home and justifying genocide in Palestine.

Julian Cortez from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization said, “Israel has established a status quo of terroristic violence, to which Palestinians are daily subjected. Yet when this monopoly of force is countered, when the status quo of settler colonialism is shaken, the Western imperialist forces all clamor to denounce those struggling for freedom as ‘terrorists.’”

Speakers urged attendees to struggle against government leaders who support the Israeli government. The Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy reported that, as of 2016, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss would not consider a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel for its human rights violations.

Several speakers also drew attention to liberal Democrat Congresswoman Hillary Scholten for co-sponsoring the “Operation Swords of Iron” Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act on October 12, which provides $2 billion to Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system.

Barbara Howard of Palestine Solidarity Grand Rapids encouraged attendees to contact Scholten to condemn her actions. A local rabbi spoke of citizens’ responsibility to be “truth tellers” in a sea of misinformation and to “call out the government” for its uncritical support of Israel.

A message of unwavering support for Palestine underlined the event. Sam Tunningley from Grand Rapids Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (GRAARPR) said, “The Palestinians, and every single person who stands with them today, know the occupation cannot go on,” and, “But we will never forget the occupation; we will always remember the martyrs and never forget those who aided and abetted the collective torture of Palestinians for over half a century.”

A march followed the six-speaker lineup, passing through the busiest sections of downtown. Attendees chanted, and many proudly flew the Palestinian flag. Employees of several businesses stepped out to cheer on the march, and driving passersby repeatedly offered moral support through honking and cheering.

The organizers are enthusiastic about the turnout and response but are disappointed with the local media’s reporting on the day’s events, which distorted the rally’s size and message. The group is planning another rally in the coming week.

The Grand Rapids Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (GRAARPR) and local Palestinian activists organized the rally to speak truth to current events and to condemn Israel’s ongoing and accelerating genocide of Palestinians.

#GrandRapidsMI #FreePalestine #GRAARPR #Palestine #BDS #AlAqsaFlood

Source: Fightbacknews.org