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New Orleans rally says “We stand with Palestinian women”

By Quest Riggs

Speaker leads pro-Palestine chants in front of banners at Armstrong Park. | Fight Back! News/staff

New Orleans, LA – On Saturday, March 9, over a 100 people rallied in front of the gates of Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans to mark International Women’s Day. Over eight organizations united to demand that people everywhere stand with the women of Palestine as they witness genocide and struggle against Zionist occupation.

The crowd gathered under banners reading “Stand with the women of Palestine” and “Victory to the Palestinian resistance.” They chanted forcefully at busy French Quarter traffic, in between several speeches by Palestinian women and their supporters. Chants highlighted the solidarity felt by people in New Orleans for the women of Palestine, such as, “We will honor all our martyrs, all the mothers and the daughters!”

Niki Gonzalez gave the first speech on behalf of New Orleans Stop Helping Israel’s Ports (NOSHIP), stating, “We reject complacency, as NOSHIP rejects any U.S. aid and continued collaboration with Israel. There should be no need for a temporary seaport controlled by the U.S. in Gaza. We stand to hold our port accountable, with a clear demand to divest from Israel,” she told the demonstrators.

NOSHIP promoted their past actions, where they have disrupted business as usual for the Port of New Orleans officials. They encouraged the audience to get involved in the fight to unchain their city from the ports in Israel on the grounds that it is directly supplying war crimes.

Several women of the New Orleans Palestinian community directly denounced the genocidal actions of Israel and the United States. Their speeches detailed the horrific realities of women in Gaza facing unending bombing and a lack of basic medical supplies. The siege of Gaza is also using starvation as a weapon of war, targeting Palestinian mothers and their children.

Other co-hosts of the event included Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), New Orleans Healthcare Workers for Palestine, Starbucks Workers United New Orleans, NOLA Freedom Forum, New Orleans for Community Oversight of Police (NOCOP) and several local chapters of Students for a Democratic Society.

“Currently the single sharpest contradiction we see is the ongoing struggle to defeat Zionism and its oppression in Palestine and in the Arab world. So, on International Women’s Day 2024, we emphasize our never-ending solidarity with the women of Palestine who are fighting for peace, the right of return, and the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea,” said a FRSO member, who asked to remain anonymous out of concern for immigration status.

Lucas Harrell spoke on behalf of Real Name Campaign, a local LGBTQ activist organization, “Israel is not a tolerant, liberal or progressive state. It is a colonial force that deflects its war-crimes and genocide through promises of queer rights for those who are lucky enough to have been born on the right side of a war machine. Its claims of queer inclusion deserve nothing but shame. The pinkwashing is not only to defend Israel’s image, but to further dehumanize Palestinians,” he said.

After all of the speeches, the mic was opened for Palestinian and Arab women. They closed the event on a powerful cultural note, sharing poems and songs. One woman sang Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come to draw out the connection between the protest music of the Civil Rights movement and the boundless cultural expression of the Palestinian national liberation movement, anchored by Palestinian women.

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