100,000 form “red line” around White House to protest US support of Israel

A hundred thousand people descended upon Washington DC to surround the White House with a miles-long “red line”, later forming a “People’s Court” to try Biden and Netanyahu for genocide

by Natalia Marques
Jun 10. 2024

“The ruling class, they’ve shown us that they have no red line,” said Lamees M, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement, opening a rally of over 100,000 people in front of the White House in the capital of the US on Saturday, June 8. “They will bankroll the murder of 40,000 Palestinians. They will provide cover for the wholesale destruction of the entire Gaza Strip. They’ll provide the blueprint for the mass displacement of over a million Palestinians, and then send bombs to rain down on people in their tents of refuge.”

Over 200 organizations came together to hold the demonstration and to organize dozens of buses to bring demonstrators from all over the country to converge in Washington DC. 1,000 protesters traveled overnight from Tampa, Florida, and more protesters came from as far away as Detroit, Iowa, and Kentucky. Convening organizations included the Palestinian Youth Movement, National Students for Justice in Palestine, The People’s Forum, Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, US Palestinian Community Network, and the ANSWER Coalition.

Earlier on June 8, Israel once again dropped bombs on the Nuseirat refugee camp, in a so-called “rescue operation.” Zionist forces “rescued” four hostages, but in the process killed 274 Palestinians and injured over 698 more—all using US-made bombs.

As tens of thousands, young and old, representing a multitude of nationalities, gathered at Lafayette Square in front of the White House, the overwhelming mood was one of outrage that the government of the United States has thus far refused to abandon its unconditional support for Israeli genocide.

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Demonstrators formed a “red line” around the White House, a miles-long red banner, parts of which were inscribed with the names of the 40,000 Palestinians killed by Israel in the ongoing genocide since October.

The demonstrators were denouncing Biden’s previous claims that the invasion of Rafah by Israel would be a red line for his administration, even threatening to withhold weapons shipments when Israel was still threatening to invade.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah—they haven’t gone in Rafah yet—if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities—that deal with that problem,” Biden said during a CNN interview on May 8.

But Israel has since invaded, perpetrating massacre after massacre in Rafah using US-made weapons—resulting in no material policy changes from the Biden administration. The US continues its decades-long policy of sending arms to Israel to carry out the systematic destruction of Palestinian life.

Peoples Dispatch spoke to Mohammad from the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), who said that “the ruling class are not the ones that set the red lines. The working class people of this world are the ones that set the red lines.”

Mohammad also spoke at the rally in Lafayette Square as a representative of PYM, speaking to the state of the larger struggle for Palestine within the diaspora since October. “The people of Gaza, the popular cradle, exists as the mark by where we should always measure ourselves. And for that reason, we cannot allow ourselves to succumb to despair, to succumb to defeatism,” he said, speaking to those gathered at the square.

“We merely exist as one front of many,” Mohammad continued. “We have shut down streets, we have shut down bridges, airports, train stations… this has never happened in the history of empire for a very long time. Day in and day out, we organize to clog the arteries of imperialism, here within the belly of the beast.”

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Later on in the day, thousands gathered on the other side of the White House, to hold a People’s Court of Justice trying Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoav Gallant, Joseph Biden, Lloyd Austin, Anthony Blinken, as well as the states of the US and Israel, with the crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Thousands gathered at the Ellipse in Washington DC for the People’s Court of Justice. Photo: Adrian Antonioli / ANSWER Coalition

“To all of the people of conscience who are entering into the People’s Court, we welcome you to your rightful place in history as the judges of what is right and wrong,” said Layan Fuleihan, Palestinian organizer and Education Director at the People’s Forum.

Attendees at the People’s Court heard testimony directly from Gaza, read by Palestinian organizers. These included a testimony from a 13-year-old Palestinian girl who lost both her parents and her siblings in an Israeli bombing on December 11, 2023, in which only she and her brother survived with significant injuries. She is now sheltering at an UNRWA school at Nuiserat camp, which has been bombed several times by Israeli forces. “Our life in the shelter is difficult. Everyday I have to go up and down the stairs many times, which is very difficult with my injuries,” read the testimony. “I miss coming back from school and finding my mother preparing food, and eating together. But my mother was martyred. The occupation killed her, and left me to continue my life without her.”

The People’s Court concluded with finding all the accused parties guilty of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Peoples Dispatch spoke to Brian Becker, executive director of the ANSWER Coalition, who explained the significance of thousands of working people coming together to put the powerful on trial. “This is a rare moment for people who come to a mass demonstration in Washington, DC, to have as a concluding event, the testimony of international lawyers, human rights lawyers, legal scholars on the direct testimony from people in Gaza themselves about war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace,” Becker said.

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Becker also spoke to the significance of the current stage in the movement for Palestine in the United States, eight months into the genocide, highlighting that more and more people, “now think that the Israeli narrative is false.”

“We have created this consciousness…all of the groups in the movement who have been in the streets, using all kinds of tactics to show protest, to show opposition, to show struggle. People’s consciousness changes when they are in struggle. When they are in struggle, they open their minds to new ideas. And that’s what we’re witnessing in the United States.”

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