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University of Florida students march for Palestine, denounce US support for Israel

By Jonathan Waring

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Gainesville, FL — On July 16, sixty University of Florida students and Gainesville activists marched from the Alachua County Courthouse to Gainesville City Hall to protest the recent US-backed Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Rami Okasha of UF Students for Justice in Palestine started the march saying, “Despite what Zionists say, Palestinians do exist and have been doing their part in resisting a slow genocide of their people. It is time we do ours.”

The protesters took to the streets during rush hour, blocking traffic, loudly chanting “Free, Free Palestine” and “”Netanyahu you can't hide, we charge you with genocide”. They gathered at the steps of City Hall to hear a round of speeches.

Jonathan Waring, of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, said in his speech, “As long as Palestinians are being oppressed by a US puppet state, we cannot sit idly by and allow them to suffer at the hands of the US and Israel.”

The demonstration concluded with a reading of the names of the 197 victims of Israeli air strikes in Gaza. The crowd held a moment of silence for the Palestinian dead. The protesters tried to symbolically tape the name of the victims to City Hall but police officers stopped them. These actions were greeted by jeers and “Shame on you, City Hall!” The protesters then delivered the list of names to the City and demanded that Gainesville stand with the people of Palestine.

At the end of the rally, Michela Martinazzi of UF Students for a Democratic Society said “It’s important to show solidarity with Palestine in their daily fight against US Imperialism and today’s action proved that the people of Gainesville are standing tall with them.”

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