SF was one of many protests

December 30, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Tuesday night's march was part of a worldwide demonstration against Israeli counter-strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. In San Francisco pro-Palestinian demonstrators faced-off against people who support Israel's strong response to Hamas' attacks.

Protesters in San Francisco came from all over the Bay Area, hoping to send a clear message to Israeli and U.S. officials. They want the bombings to stop, as well as a change in policy.

A section of Montgomery Street in the heart of San Francisco's Financial District became a corridor of protesters. Hundreds of people converged in front of the Israeli Consulate to voice their outrage over Israel's air attacks in Gaza.

"They are dropping tons of shells and bombs from the air and they know civilians are there," said Deborah Agre, a protester.

Organizers brought bullhorns, which helped turn the scene into a loud and lively affair. In fact, it was so loud that the Israeli Consul General was able to hear the chants in his office several stories up.

"It's depressing and saddening to see people who are articulate and able to organize, are also not able to be fair," said Akiva Tor, the Israeli Consul General.

But a large crowd of counter protesters did show up across the street -- to make sure the Israeli point of view was heard loud and clear.

"People in San Francisco are so quick to jump on the bandwagon and say 'Oh, you've been oppressed? Let me support you,' but they don't really understand the context of the history of the situation," said Nicole Miller, a protester.

Despite that sentiment, support Tuesday night for Israel was overshadowed by the pro-Palestinian demonstrations that took place not only in San Francisco, but all over the country. The coordinated day of action spanned from Los Angeles to Washington D.C.

"It's great that people come out here and recognize the atrocious behavior of the Israeli state," said Sharif Silmi, an Anti-Israel protester.

The protest eventually spilled into the street -- forcing police to shut it down to traffic. A march soon followed. Protesters walked down Market Street to city hall, ending up at U.N. plaza. There was no telling how many more demonstrations organizers have planned; many though hope more people will take up their cause.

"I would like to see more Americans out here protesting what our government is doing because without the funding and support of the U.S. government, Israel wouldn't be able to do what they're doing over there," said Cheryl Gallagher, a protester.

Despite the heightened emotions, the demonstration was by all accounts peaceful. Latest reports indicate local police made no arrests.


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