Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Israeli Palestinian Protests at Israeli Consulate (3)

After over an hour of rumbustious shouting outside of the Isrsaeli Consulate (see previous blogs) protest leaders gathered their large banners and lined up across Montgomery Street.

Then they processed slowly down towards Market Street, hundreds of people falling in behind them still chanting, banging drums, waving placards and dancing in the street.

Among the crowd were people in wheelchairs, children and the occasional baby in a pram.

Police motorcyclists with sirens blaring drove down the sidewalk to get ahead of the procession and police and news helicopters criss-crossed in the night sky.

On Market Street, the main thoroughfare through the city, the procession stretched for about half a mile, bringing traffic, trams and buses to a halt. Many passengers could be seen disembarking from buses, deciding to continue their journey by other means.

Half-way along the route, Amro Jay, caught up with me. Originally from Ramalla with family still living there, he is one of the organizers with the Palestinian Solidarity Committee from Chico, in northern California.

Referring to the bombing of Gaza, he said, 'Collective punishment should not at any time be acceptable.'

As for the crowds around him, he said, 'I think it's great, and the Palestinian cause could always use more people.'

Not only more people it seems, but four-legged friends as well. Mimi - 'she's a mutt,' said her mum happily - was seen padding down the street with her own protest banner of 'Free Palestine' attached to her lead.

By 7 pm, about an hour after leaving the Consulate, the crowd wound into the United Nations Plaza at the Civic Center by which time some were beginning to depart.

For album of more pics click here

pics show: Mimi; a group dancing on top of one of structures in the middle of the street; crowds pouring down the middle of Market Street and passing a large mobile police unit; trolleys and buses lined up on the street

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