CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Charlotte Palestinians met in solidarity Sunday afternoon, speaking out against the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hundreds showed up at First Ward Park, displaying signs supporting their people in the Gaza Strip.
“We are here actually to remind our people in Charlotte and the world that the United Nations has condemned the deliberate, indiscriminate genocide of the Palestinian people and has called for an immediate cease of firing upon the people,” says Khalid Hijazi, a member of the local Palestinian community.
An estimated 1.1 million people live in Gaza City and surrounding parts of the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli officials have warned Palestinians in Gaza to leave before tensions get worse in their war with Hamas.
Officials estimate 2,700 people have already died in Gaza and wounded at least 9,600 people. At least 1,400 have died in Israel.
“I want the people of Charlotte to know that our Palestinian community is heavily affected. We have many of our members, Palestinian members inside, who have family in Gaza, in the Gaza Strip, and who were either killed or injured. Hospitals are being bombed,” Hijazi said.
Several people spoke during the rally, calling out for support from Charlotte neighbors and requesting at least verbal aid from local politicians.
They were met briefly with a counter-demonstration from Sam Bethea, otherwise known as the ‘Jesus Saves’ guy, who was holding up a sign during the middle of their rally. CMPD officers quickly removed the man; they surrounded him for the duration of the rally.
“I’ve been feeling miserable and devastated, especially that I have family over there. And what they’re going through—that’s really hurtful, not for me, for any Muslim in general around the world,” said Mohammed Sabra.
He and his friends joined the hundreds of Palestinians that marched through uptown, chanting “Free Palestine.”
He says this rally was important because they wanted to show people that not only are Palestinians condemning the Hamas attacks, but they’re human beings and deserve to be treated better.
“I feel like we have enough people, Muslims, people around the world that, you know, can get the picture and the message across. And if the media don’t stand with us, we know that Allah is standing with us at the end of the day,” Sabra said.