Saint Paul, MN – The Free Palestine Coalition held a rally and disrupted Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s Christmas Eve Party on December 24. Over 1000 protesters rallied along the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge, then marched to the governor’s residence to demand that Walz and the Minnesota State Board of Investment divest from the ongoing siege of Gaza and the occupation of Palestine.
“Governor Walz has ignored our calls for the divestment of taxpayer dollars and public pension funds from Israeli apartheid. But he will never stop hearing from us or seeing us until he finally ends Minnesota’s complacency in genocide,” Christine Hauschildt of the MN Anti-War Committee said, “Minnesota divested from South Africa. So why can’t we do it now? Why can’t Minnesota be a leader in the movement for American divestment from Israel? Stop ignoring the chance to do the right thing and stop investing in genocide, ethnic cleansing and collective punishment.”
Hauschildt and other speakers brought attention to the urgent need for solidarity this Christmas, as Christmas observations have been canceled in Bethlehem amidst the Israeli violence: “There’s no celebrating as Israel continues to escalate the genocide of the Palestinian people. So while you and your family sit together eating Christmas cookies by the fire, remember that it was your decision to use our money to make sure Palestinian families don’t have food or fuel for Christmas. And destruction rages on around them.”
Clara Sanders of the Ceasefire Choir spoke as a Christian organizing for Palestine, stating, “We began to notice that our Jewish brothers and sisters and our Muslim brothers and sisters were really showing up for Gaza, and where were the Christians? I can think of no better thing to do on Christmas Eve than to be here today. The Christian faith has been appropriated to serve white supremacy, to serve antisemitism, anti-Muslim prejudice, and we say no! Today Christians around the world, including in Palestine, are observing the birth of someone we call the Prince of Peace, and so we cannot have Christmas as usual when the place where Jesus, a Jew born under occupation, is currently being bombed and a genocide is occurring.”
The Ceasefire Choir performed Christmas carols rewritten to show solidarity with the Palestinian people to great applause from the crowd, which included many children and families of diverse faiths. Cookies were given out in designs of the Palestinian flag, keys, and Handala. Sabry Wazwaz of the MN Anti-War Committee gave keffiyehs to all those in attendance as a holiday gift.
The Free Palestine Coalition continues organizing for MN to divest from apartheid Israel as well as calling for an end to the siege of Gaza, an end to U.S. aid to apartheid Israel, and a free Palestine.