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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Emergency rally in downtown Gainesville shuts off parts of Main Street

The rally was a response to Israel bombing Rafah Sunday night

<p>A protestor holds a sign reading "Our Taxes Fund Their Hell" during a protest in downtown Gainesville on Monday, May 27, 2024.</p>

A protestor holds a sign reading "Our Taxes Fund Their Hell" during a protest in downtown Gainesville on Monday, May 27, 2024.

Over 100 people gathered for an emergency rally in downtown Gainesville following the bombing of Rafah by Israel Sunday night, shutting off parts of Main Street leading to Depot Park.

The Gainesville Police Department barricaded parts of the road to accommodate the protest, which is required by state law to occur with a permit, according to ACLU of Florida.

An hour into the demonstration, a car drove into the crowd, but nobody was harmed.

On Sunday night, Israel sent out an airstrike killing at least 45 people and wounding 249 in Rafah, which was supposed to be targeting a Hamas compound, according to a The New York Times report

UF English professor Malini Schueller said the need for an immediate rally was sparked by the  bombing.

“Rafah had been declared a safe zone, and Netanyahu had been told by the international court of justice as well as Biden that they should not be bombing civilians in Gaza,” Malini said.

Khoe Winchester, a Sidney Lanier Center teacher, said Gainesville needs to be more active in addressing the conflict in Gaza.

“The least the city of Gainesville can do is pass a ceasefire resolution and stand with the people who are fighting for the liberation of the Palestinian people and to not dehumanize or suppress people's efforts to see the Palestinians be free,” Winchester said.

Protesting in cities like Gainesville shows support for Palestinians, said Laila Fakhoury, an organizer of the rally.

“People are coming out today to bring attention to show our brothers and sisters in Rafah and Palestine that no matter where we are, even if we’re in a small town, we stand together and stand with them,” she said.

Fakhoury said there are no excuses to be oblivious to what’s happening.

“If you haven’t woken up yet, now is the time,” she said. “There’s no more excuses to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in Palestine and other areas around the world.” 

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Contact Lee Ann Anderson at landerson@alligator.org. Follow her on X @LeeAnnJOU.

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Lee Ann Anderson

Lee Ann Anderson is a sophomore journalism major and The Alligator’s Summer 2023 criminal justice reporter. In her free time you can catch her reading articles, talking to her cat or losing her mind.


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