Gaza protests this week and next

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Organizer Samha Ayesh, 21, is a Bay Area native with family in Palestine. He said he'd lost some friends in the recent conflict.
GUARDAIN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

Activists with Arab Youth Organization and a number of other entities staged a protest Aug. 6 outside the San Francisco Federal Building, where Rep. Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco office is located, calling on U.S. government to end aid to Israel.

“We’re here because humans are dying,” said Linda Ereikat, a 17-year-old Palestinian American who was born and raised in the Bay Area and recently spent a month visiting her grandparents in the West Bank.

“We’re not here because we’re part of a political party. We don’t care about Hamas. We care that our people are dying, and our people are under siege. And it’s just crazy. Regardless of politics, regardless of how you feel, humans are dying. And that’s what really gets me.”

Arab youth organizers and other supporters also planned to hold an Aug. 7 candlelight vigil at 7:30pm in San Francisco’s Union Square, in memory of Palestinians who had been killed during the conflict.

And next week, on Aug. 16, a coalition of organizers is planning to move ahead with a protest against violence in Gaza at the Port of Oakland – which could involve blockading a ship.

According to a flier announcing the Aug. 16 event:

“In 2010, after a Turkish flotilla was attacked by Israel for attempting to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, we built on ILWU’s history [from the movement against apartheid in South Africa] and successfully blocked the Israeli Zim ship from being unloaded at the Port of Oakland – the first time in US history an Israeli ship was blocked. We will be continuing this legacy by organizing to block the Israeli ship once again.”

It seems the exact plans are still under discussion. Asked about it, AYO organizer Samha Ayesh told the Bay Guardian, “We’re trying to work with the port workers to make it successful.”

These events aren't the only examples of Bay Area street demonstrations held in response to the Israeli-Gaza conflict. A group of demonstrators staged a pro-Israel march in San Francisco last weekend.