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Minnesota protests 75th Year of the Nakba

By staff

Minneapolis march on anniversary of the Nakba.

Minneapolis, MN – On May 20, over 200 pro-Palestine demonstrators gathered at Bryant Square Park in Uptown to show solidarity with the global Palestinian movement to remember Al-Nakba, or “The Catastrophe”, in which more than 750,000 Palestinians were exiled from their homes and homeland in 1948 by Israeli militia forces with the help of imperialist forces. Speakers from different movements gave messages of solidarity with Palestinians in diaspora in the Twin Cities and across the world.

Nick Estes, the cofounder of Red Nation, was the first speaker at the rally, stating, “Palestine is the moral issue that divides this nation, the moral issue that divides this globe between those who are perpetrators of violence and those who are fighting for freedom. That struggle begins here, in this city. We saw historic uprisings, uprisings to get land back for indigenous people in this city, and they were successful. Why? Because those movements are not just indigenous problems – they are everybody’s issues. When we talk about the issue of Palestine, what unites the people of Turtle Island and Palestine goes back at least 150 years.”

Next, Hanin Moussa from American Muslims For Palestine (AMP) MN spoke about 75 years of dispossession, demolished homes and cultural erasure. “We are here to prove that the Palestinians have not been forgotten, and let it be known one thing, that the Nakba was not a single event overnight, but that Nakba was happening even before then [1948] and continues to this day. The Nakba is an ongoing process that we see in Silwan and East Jerusalem to this day, when they try to replace Palestinians with settlers from New York City.”

Jae Yates of Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar spoke about the connection and solidarity between the Palestinian movement in occupied Palestine and the resistance movement in the Twin Cities that developed during the George Floyd uprising, saying, “Those of us that struggle against oppression know that our enemy is white supremacy and capitalism, whether they wear IDF fatigues or a police uniform.”

Yossi Aharoni, an anti-Zionist Jew, spoke for the Anti-War Committee, stating, “Israel allows Jews from all over the world to come and gain citizenship, to live in Israel, even at times with government assistance, while Palestinians whose families were killed, those who had to flee from Israeli terrorism, are refused the right to return to their stolen homes on their stolen land. All of this is done with American taxpayer money funding American companies, with the full support of the American government.”

Finally, Medea Benjamin, founder of CodePink and Global Exchange, addressed the crowd before the march. “I think it’s so important that we related it today to the indigenous struggle, the plague of racism that exists in our country, the police repression, but we also have to understand that fundamentally we do not have a democracy in this country, because if we did there is no way that we would be giving $4 billion every year to one of the most repressive governments in the world,” Benjamin said.

After the speakers, participants marched through the Uptown neighborhood. The highlight of the march was a die-in at the intersection of Hennepin and Lake, where attendees draped themselves with blood-soaked sheets and lay on the ground in the street while saying aloud the names of fallen Palestinians in their struggle for liberation. The march was greeted along all of Lake Street with raised fists and honking horns in a show of support for the message.

The rally was initiated by AMP-MN and the Anti-War Committee. The next Palestine action announced at the rally was the upcoming State Board of Investment meeting on May 25 at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol building, where Palestine solidarity activists will again demand that the state of Minnesota divests from Israel.

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