Unrest in San Francisco over Gaza flotilla raid

June 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Tensions remain high both around the world and in the Bay Area following a botched flotilla raid near Gaza. Hundreds of people on both sides of the issue rallied Saturday in San Francisco.

The real estate between City Hall and Civic Plaza became a border zone between people on both sides of the issue who vented emotionally and politically. Polk Street was the dividing line.

Clustered behind police barricades on the steps to City Hall were Israeli activists. Across the street in Civic Plaza, were Palestinian activists who rallied around a stage where flowers were placed for those who died in the flotilla raid.

"We are on the right side. They are on the wrong side," said Michel Shehadeh with the Arab Community and Cultural Center. "The right side says let the innocent people of Gaza live. The other side says keep the siege, hurt."

"Israel wants peace between a Jewish state of Israel and its Arab neighbors," Mike Harris with Voice for Israel told ABC7. "The people on the other side of the street, unfortunately, are actually not supporting peace. They're supporting endless war and the destruction of Israel."

Both sides volleyed their resentment back and forth across the street as a strong police presence kept them separated.

"Obviously, the people across the street are in support of Israel, and I think that as they continue to parrot Israeli propaganda, they undermine Israel's cause," said Kevin Ryan.

"International criticism for Israel has been really overblown and it's been really unfair," David Weisburd said. "Any other country would act the same way."

Many people in the crowd were coming to a protest for the first time in their life.

"There's so much feeling of hate that comes from that side," said Israel supporter Linda Goldman. "It's disturbing."

After several hours of rallying, over 200 Palestinian activists marched through San Francisco, sometimes in the street. In the end, there were no arrests with police calling it a very peaceful day.


Load Comments