Gaza supporters protest Israel on Portland streets

Emergency March to End the Assault on Gaza expects 600

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) – Portlanders frustrated with the violence between Israel and Palestine took to the streets.

Organizers of a march against Israel’s military actions on Palestine in the Gaza strip said they expect more than 600 people to show their support for Gazans at Pioneer Courthouse Square Thursday. However, the crowd that came to the “Emergency March to End the Assault on Gaza” was estimated to be about 250.

More than 11 local groups hosted the event.

More than 650 people confirmed via Facebook they would attend. According to the group Students United for Palestinians Equal Rights Facebook page, the event began with a Bike Swarm for Palestine at Holladay City Park, followed by the downtown rally and march.

“I can’t wait to chant this tomorrow…. “Brick By Brick, Wall By Wall! Israeli Apartheid Has To Fall!” wrote Christopher Zimmerly-Beck on the event’s Facebook page.

Violence continues in Gaza

A girl cries as Palestinians flee their homes in the Shajaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City, after Israel had airdropped leaflets warning people to leave the area, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. A Hamas website says Israel has fired missiles at the homes of four of its senior leaders as it resumed bombardment of Gaza, following a failed Egyptian cease-fire effort. Health officials say the Palestinian death toll in nine days of fighting has reached 204.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A girl cries as Palestinians flee their homes in the Shajaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City, after Israel had airdropped leaflets warning people to leave the area, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. A Hamas website says Israel has fired missiles at the homes of four of its senior leaders as it resumed bombardment of Gaza, following a failed Egyptian cease-fire effort. Health officials say the Palestinian death toll in nine days of fighting has reached 204.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The Palestinian death toll since July 17 is at 803, after an attack on a U.N. school Thursday. At least 119 Palestinians were killed Thursday, many of them children, according to Gaza health official Ashraf a-Kidra.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has denounced Israel’s attack on the school, which killed at least 15 civilians Thursday, marking the fourth time that school has been hit since the conflict began. Israel has lost 32 soldiers since July 17.

The march will take aim at what organizers call “the blood on American hands” from the billions of dollars in annual support the U.S. government gives Israel.

“We demand an immediate end to the US funding of the Israeli war machine and the lifting of the siege on Gaza,” event’s official release reads. During the rally, participants are expected to share their personal stories – be they Palestinian, Gazan or “Portlandian.”

Calls to America’s leaders

The action comes on the heels of three previous events in support of Palestinians and Gazans, one of which roughly 300 people attended, organizers said, including demonstrations outside Senator Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley’s office.

“Our members of Congress are responsible for giving Israel a green light to act with impunity and now we are seeing the terrible consequences: Israel’s callous destruction of civilians, women, and children with U.S. supplied weapons,” Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights president Peter Miller said in a statement.

“We are appalled by President Obama’s endorsement this criminal assault and those elected U.S. legislators who join him,” Friends of Sabeel National Program Director Don Wagner said in the same statement.

The group is demanding a ceasefire from both sides, but calls the conflict “not a war but a series of massacres committed by Israel.”

More than 11 Portland groups are sponsoring the event, including:

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