JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters gathered at 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Jacksonville to continue to advocate for a ceasefire amid the war between Israel and Hamas.
The protest comes days after the Florida House of Representatives rejected a resolution relating to the war between Israel and Hamas.
The resolution called for de-escalation and a ceasefire in the State of Israel and occupied Palestine. This received only two “yes” votes from Rep. Angie Nixon and Rep. Anna Eskamani.
Representative Nixon was called an anti-Semite for proposing this resolution.
While Pensacola Rep. Michelle Salzman received backlash for saying “all,” when Rep. Nixon asked the question “how many deaths would be enough” when talking about the Palestinians.
An organizer of the rally said seeing elected officials vote against such a thing was sad.
“We voted against a common-sense resolution that simply calls for a ceasefire, affirming that people have the right to safety and dignity, and condemning anti-Semitism, condemning Islamophobia, and condemning all forms of racism in the resolution,” said Sarah Mahmoud of the Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network. “So anyone who voted against it shows that they are not actually in favor of justice reform for all.”
Saturday’s rally also comes as Palestinian officers say constant airstrikes are preventing staff and patients from evacuating Gaza’s largest hospital.
The Israeli army acknowledged fighting with Hamas members around Al-Shifa Hospital, but denied firing on or besieging the medical center.
Several signs posted at the downtown rally were aimed at demanding that airstrikes stop the massacres of innocents.
“At what point do people around the world say enough is enough,” Mahmoud said.
Rally organizers on Saturday believed it was their largest and most diverse crowd since they began gathering like this a month ago.
Kiyanaz Faroogh was among those present.
Faroogh said the reason she was doing it was because she wanted her support to be known.
“Every step is important and every move we make will help someone,” Faroogh said. “So it’s important to go out there and express your feelings, because what else are we supposed to do? We are desperate because people are desperate and this is a big step right now.
Another person present at the gathering was Sari. He explained that the reason he came was to support his Palestinian family abroad, who he said were doing “relatively well.”
“We are not asking for war, we are not asking for murder, we are not asking you to change anything,” Sari said. “We ask you to stop shooting. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to do.
Mahmoud said she hopes more elected officials, from the state to national level, like the Biden administration, will begin to lean more into calling for a ceasefire so that more innocent people don’t die.
Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.