Hundreds gather in Minneapolis Monday night in support of Palestine amid ongoing war

Separate solidarity with Israel event planned in St. Louis Park

A teenager waves a giant flag, a woman holds a sign.
Yousef Aqel, 11, waves a Palestinian flag with his mother Manal Aqel holding a sign that reads "Deliberate targeting of civilians and children is war crime" during a rally calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel Monday.
Nicole Neri for MPR News

Updated: 8:00 a.m.

Palestinian flags waved and hundreds of people marched down Washington Avenue in Minneapolis on Monday night in response to a never-ending cycle of violence in the region.

Hundreds of people have been killed in both Israel and Palestine.

The Israeli air raids on Gaza came after members of Hamas launched attacks on towns in southern Israel, killing at least 800 people and capturing dozens of others as hostages.

In response, at least 687 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli bombardments in the last two days.

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A woman speaks into a microphone.
Maysoon Wazwaz speaks to the crowd during a rally calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel Monday.
Nicole Neri for MPR News

Protester Maysoon Wazwaz said for Palestinians living under a decades-long occupation, and for the millions who have been displaced, the death and destruction is nothing new.

“Israel has been ethnically cleansing the Palestinian villages since its inception. So, we are here to say that we cannot treat this as a surprise if Israel has been, you know, reaping, you know, the seeds of unrest. They cannot oppress the people and then be shocked when the people respond,” Wazwaz said. 

Israel announced on Monday a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, stopping the supply of food, water, electricity and other essentials — which has happened before and is deemed a war crime under international law.

Gaza — described by the Human Rights Watch as the world’s largest open-air prison — is densely populated with 2.3 million residents, many of them refugees who descended from people who fled or were expelled from their homes in other parts of Palestine in 1948.

Palestinian-American protester Meg Amad was among the hundreds who marched Monday. She said her dad was one of the people who had to flee.

A large group holds flags and signs.
Meg Ahmed chants with hundreds of demonstrators during a rally calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.
Nicole Neri for MPR News

“You can't keep people in a cage from childhood. And treat them like dogs in a cage and expect them not to break,” Amad said. 

Wazwaz says the only solution is for Palestinians to have equal rights and freedom.

“We cannot talk about anything before we end the occupation, and the apartheid regime, you know, and allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes,” she said. 

Not counting the recent fatalities, roughly 6,400 Palestinians and 300 Israelis had been killed in the ongoing war since 2008, according to the United Nations.

A Solidarity with Israel event is planned for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park.