May 21, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Thousands Rally for Palestine in Westwood, Draw Police Presence

Protestors Gathered Near Federal Building, Only Minor Clashes

By Keemia Zhang

A four-hour march supporting Palestine took place last Saturday afternoon, from the Israeli Consulate to the Federal Building in Westwood on Wilshire Blvd. and Federal Ave. The rally prompted LAPD street closures and southbound 405 entry lanes to be shut down.

The protest was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement in coordination with demonstrations across multiple cities, dubbed “Rally for Return: ALL OUT FOR GAZA,” with thousands of protestors in attendance. Protestors chanted, “Israel, Israel, you can’t hide,” ejected red-and-green smoke, and carried Palestinian flags with signs denouncing “Israeli Apartheid.” 

“I’ve been working in Gaza and the West Bank for ten years, and I’ve seen nothing but violence against Palestinians,” demonstrator and activist Lauren Shultz told NBC Los Angeles. Fellow protestor Thawra Faleesteen remarked that the continued aggressive Israeli military presence in Palestine spurred her desire to protest.

The march followed pro-Israel rallies in Encino and Beverly Hills earlier this week. Worldwide demonstrations on both sides have taken place following the October 7 Hamas-instigated Ein HaShlosha massacre of Israeli citizens.

Saturday’s rally follows Palestinian civilians suffering a humanitarian crisis following retaliatory Israeli bombardment and a blockade against water and food supplies. 2,200 Palestinians and 1,300 Israelis have been killed by opposing military forces. Los Angeles is home to 88,233 Palestinians and 250,000 Israelis.

LAPD managed crowd control at the mostly peaceful demonstration, though police established an extensive riot line. Confrontations with counter-protestors spurred “pushing and shoving,” according to the L.A Times. 

A video displayed Palestinian supporters surrounding a “lone pro-Israel demonstrator,” while other footage showed Israel supporters pepper-spraying demonstrators for Palestine. Other incidents included a small group of demonstrators ascending onto a hill by the 405, as well as objects being thrown at an Israeli flag, waved by a nearby driver, which was later trampled by demonstrators. 

LAPD officers​​ said there were “no reports of arrests or serious injuries” during the protest.

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