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Protesters flood Portland’s bridges for Land Day march

By Morgan Jenson

Portland, Oregon protesters shut down city bridges in solidarity with Palestine. | Fight Back! News/staff

Portland, OR – On March 30, hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of Portland and across two of the city's bridges, effectively disrupting traffic throughout the city for close to four hours. They demanded the end to the illegal Zionist occupation, and the right of return for exiled Palestinians to their homeland world.

The event was organized by Zaytuna of the PNW, a group of Palestinian organizers leading protests and actions for the free Palestine movement in observance of Land Day.

Land Day is commemorated every year on March 30 to commemorate the day in 1976 when six unarmed Palestinians were killed by Zionist forces for protesting the illegal settlements and continued theft of Palestinian land by Israel.

A statement from Zaytuna of the PNW noted, “On this day, we will resist, we will remember, and we will rise together in strength and in numbers not only demanding the humiliating collapse of the IsNotReal [Israel] genocidal campaign and illegal occupation, but to make it very clear that we will never forget, and we will surely never stop until Palestine is free!”

Attendees gathered at Pioneer Square in downtown Portland where they were taught a traditional Palestinian dance called the dabke before organizers spoke on the importance of holding our government responsible for its complicity in this genocide. Organizers condemned the Biden administration’s unwavering support of Israel, promising not to forgive or forget come November the horrible things Biden has done with our tax dollars. This was met with enthusiasm by the crowd who chanted back, “If we don’t get a ceasefire, we won’t vote!”

The crowd of over 200 protesters marched for four miles across both Burnside and Hawthorne Bridges, the first march to close two bridges in the city on the same day. The march lasted approximately four hours, causing traffic delays throughout the city. Jade Wood, who attended the march, stated, “Zaytuna’s events are always very powerful and get a lot of people’s attention!”

As protesters marched through shopping districts, the sound of their chants echoed off store fronts as shoppers and workers alike ventured outside to take photos and observe the march. Many showed signs of support, flashing peace signs or waving kufiyahs from their windows.

On the bystanders' support, attendee Chris Rohlfing remarked the cheers show that, “the people won’t stand by any longer quietly accepting what is happening in Palestine. The gap between the government and the people is widening every day on this. To the point of irreconcilability.” That gap was certainly present among the crowd of protesters who carried signs that read, “U.S. out of Palestine” and “Fund schools, not genocide.”

The protest ended back at Pioneer Square with the sun shining high and protesters in high spirits. As the crowd dissipated, a young boy who couldn’t have been more than three years old took hold of the megaphone calling out, “Gaza, Gaza don’t you cry, we will never let you die!” which was met with quiet support from the crowd. It was a reminder that it is up to all of us to continue fighting for Palestinian liberation and collective liberation.

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