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1000-plus join Chicago march for Palestine on St. Patrick’s Day weekend

By Gabriel Miller

Coalition for Justice in Palestine March in downtown Chicago

Chicago, IL – Over 1000 people rallied and marched from the Israeli Consulate through downtown Chicago on March 16 calling for an end to U.S. aid to Israel’s genocide in Palestine and an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. Irish flags rippled in the wind alongside Palestinian, Yemeni and South African flags on Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, as the afternoon demonstration highlighted the connection between Ireland and Palestine’s history of struggle and the need for solidarity against colonial oppression.

The event was organized by the Coalition for Justice in Palestine (CJP), which has organized weekly protests against Israel’s U.S.-backed genocide for five months in a row since October 7.

Solidarity was a central theme in the remarks of the rally’s speakers, including Merawi Gerima, a member of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) and a co-chair of the Campaign to Free Incarcerated Survivors of Police Torture (CFIST).

Gerima emphasized the importance of unity of action, rather than unity of ideas, in building coalitions powerful enough to challenge the status quo. He cited the coalition for Justice in Palestine and Chicago’s Black and Brown Coalition for Palestine, which have mobilized massive demonstrations on a weekly basis and pressured politicians to take action to stop the genocide, describing them as “two magic weapons” for fighting U.S. imperialism.

“Solidarity is the most beautiful thing in the world,” Gerima said.

After Gerima’s remarks was Tom Callahan, an Irish American filmmaker and activist who is helping organize an Irish solidarity group for Palestine. Callahan spoke out against the Irish government officials who have met and presented President Biden with a bowl of shamrocks to celebrate their political relationship, even in the midst of a months-long genocide that Biden is facilitating.

Despite Ireland’s history of resisting colonial oppression, some Irish people “thought we could be free without everybody else,” Callahan said. “But Palestine is helping us remember that there’s no way out of this without solidarity.”

Tarek Khaill, a member of CJP and American Muslims in Palestine followed with a scathing rejection of President Biden’s recent delegation to Chicago to meet with Muslim and Palestinian leaders ahead of the primary elections. “We will not be used by this administration to further their political objectives,” Khaill said. “Our objective is the liberation of Palestine!”

After the speaking program, the crowd marched and chanted through downtown Chicago, busy with Saint Patrick’s Day foot traffic. Demonstrators held banners that read “No Irish pride in genocide,” “Hands off Rafah,” and “Stop the U.S.-funded Israeli genocide in Gaza.”

Before closing, a CJP spokesperson reminded attendees to mark their calendars for the Democratic National Convention August 19-21, when the Coalition to March on the DNC will center the demand for a free Palestine as they bring the People’s Agenda within sight and sound of the Democratic party leaders.

#ChicagoIL #CoalitionforJusticeinPalestine #CAARPR #CFIST #StPatricksDay