More than 1,000 protesters took to the streets of Brooklyn on Wednesday as part of an international “Day of Rage” in opposition to Israel’s occupation and annexation of Palestine.
The group — led by members of over 40 grassroots organizations across the city — marched from Bay Ridge to the Barclays Center, starting at about 4 pm and ending at 10 pm. About a dozen cops in riot gear kept protesters out of the streets, and trailed them on their way to the Fort Greene venue — and for a brief stretch in Bay Ridge, a small group of counter-protesters gathered across the street from speakers waving Israeli flags and Trump banners.
The local demonstration came on the day Israel threatened to launch its formal annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank in conjunction with President Donald Trump’s “peace plan.”
The day of protest was held in partnership with demonstrations across the globe, as well as in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. In Gaza City, the Associated Press reported, thousands of protesters marched with Palestinian flags and signs decrying the annexation plan as a “declaration of war” on the Palestinian people.
The Brooklyn-based Day of Rage was organized by NY4Palestine, a coalition of Palestine solidarity organizations in and around New York City, and Within Our Lifetime, a Palestinian-led community organization. Within Our Lifetime’s goal, according to its website, is to “revitalize the revolutionary spirit of the Palestinian diaspora to complement the resistance in Palestine in pursuit of a free homeland.”
Nerdeen Kiswani, chair and co-founder of Within Our Lifetime, said she was touched by the demonstration’s diverse turnout.
“Not only was the Palestinian community out there but so were so many people from different backgrounds,” Kiswani said. “We had a lot of Black people standing with us, especially with everything going on, saying you can’t support Black Lives Matter and not support Palestine — which was awesome.”
On Twitter, the group boasted Wednesday’s lead chant: “Not just annexation, not just occupation. Fight for liberation, bring the whole thing down.”
The message Kiswani hopes people will take home from the international Day of Rage is that the threats to Palestine are — and have been — ongoing.
“This is nothing new what they’re doing with annexation,” she told Brooklyn Paper. “Ever since 1948 when Israel was first created — that was the largest annexation of Palestinian land — and it’s something that continues to this day. We’re not just fighting against the occupation and annexation of Palestine, we’re fighting for full and total liberation of all Palestinian land.”
The rally, however, did spark some criticism from local residents who decried protesters’ use of the chant “Death to Isreal, death to America” in the comments section of a video shared more than one thousand times on Facebook.
Update: This story has been updated to include information about a controversial chant led by a speaker at the rally.