Protestors in Rochester call for ceasefire in Gaza amid Israel-Hamas war

Protesters in Rochester call for ceasefire in Gaza

Amid a complex and bloody war raging across the world, some Minnesotans are choosing sides.

(ABC 6 News) – Amid a complex and bloody war raging across the world, some Minnesotans are choosing sides.

Groups supporting Palestine marched in downtown Rochester Saturday afternoon, protesting Israel’s war in Gaza and the support for the war from the United States.

Dozens of people gathered on the steps of the Olmsted County Government Center to show their support for Palestine and call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“We’re here as a community today, and I really hope we can all come together and spread awareness and peace all around the world,” said protestor Liban Abdullahi.

According to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, 8,805 Palestinians have been killed since Israel was attacked by the terrorist group Hamas on October 7.

“There’s been a lot of violence going on recently in Palestine and in Gaza, and there’s been a lot of lives lost and no aid being sent to help those out,” said protestor Dania Amra.

In October, President Joe Biden announced the U.S. would send $100 million dollars in humanitarian assistance to Palestine.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a nearly $14.5 billion military aid package to Israel.

Palestine supporters are calling the unbalanced support biased.

Anna Schmitz is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and says Israel’s actions since the country was attacked are genocide.

“As a Jewish woman, as someone whose ancestors have experienced genocide, we say never again, said Schmitz. “It doesn’t mean just for us. It means never again for anyone.”

As a Jewish woman supporting Palestine, Schmitz has faced criticism from her own community.

“I have a lot of Muslim friends that have faced Islamophobia, I have other Jewish friends that have faced antisemitism. It is on the rise,” said Schmitz.

Rabbi Michelle Werner of the B’Nai Synagogue did not attend the protest but says it is important to preserve all human life, including the hostages taken by Hamas and calls for them to be released.

For some, the war hits even closer to home, like Amra, who has family in Palestine.

“I am in touch with them. They live in Ramallah, so they currently aren’t under fire themselves, but there are still a lot of events that are happening there and they have a lot of restrictions with where they can go right now,” said Amra.

Amid protests across the state, government officials have yet to respond to the calls for a ceasefire.

Protestors supporting Palestine are asking the public to contact their local representative and donate to the Palestine Relief Fund.