Hundreds march to state Capitol in pro-Palestinian rally calling for cease-fire

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Hundreds in St. Paul joined others around the world in a pro-Palestine rally and march Saturday calling for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian health officials say at least 10,000 people have been killed during the last 35 days of Israeli airstrikes.

The Palestinian Health Ministry, run by Hamas, says that out of the 10,000 killed, 4,000 were children. Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., Canada and the European Union.

A dozen community groups making up the Free Palestine Coalition say Saturday’s rally — where hundreds marched from Cathedral Hill Park to the state Capitol — marks the first of many protests that will be held by the newly formed coalition.

Hundreds of protesters marched to the state Capitol from Cathedral Hill in St. Paul on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in a pro-Palestine rally to call for a cease-fire on the Gaza Strip. (Kristi Miller / Pioneer Press)

Protesters held anti-Israeli signs and draped themselves in Palestinian flags as they chanted “Long live Palestine!” and called for a cease-fire to the recent spate of violence that began Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people.

“The U.N. secretary general said this week that ‘Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children’. It is critical that all people of conscience come out to demand an end to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine,” Meredith Aby, an organizer with the Minnesota Anti-War Committee and one of the organizers of Saturday’s rally, said in a news release.

In response to the protesters’ demands Saturday for a cease-fire, Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, said there was already a cease-fire in place on Oct. 7 when “Hamas terrorists breached the border and murdered 1,400 people and took 220 hostages.” On Friday, Israel revised its death toll from 1,400 to 1,200.

“There’s little chance of a cease-fire until Hamas releases those they have taken hostage, including babies, mothers and elderly people,” Hunegs said.

Nearly 300,000 people attended a pro-Palestinian rally in London on Saturday, about the same number of people who gathered in the U.S. capital on Nov. 4 to call for a cease-fire. Many Minnesotans went to Washington, D.C., for the National March on Washington for Palestine.

Aby said Saturday’s march ended at the state Capitol to bring attention to the fact that the state invests public money into Israeli companies and weapons manufacturers who are profiting from the crisis and that Gov. Tim Walz has only expressed empathy for the Israeli victims of the war.

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