LOS ANGELES (AP) — Pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets of Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia and other U.S. cities on Saturday to demand an end to Israeli airstrikes over the Gaza Strip.
Thousands of people shut down traffic on a major thoroughfare in west Los Angeles as they marched two miles from outside the federal building to the Israeli consulate. The protesters waved signs that said “free Palestine” and shouted “long live intifada,” or uprising.
In San Francisco, a raucous crowd banged drums and yelled “Palestine will be free” as they marched across the Mission district to Dolores Park.
A similar scene played out in Boston as protesters walked a short distance from Copley Square to the Israeli Consulate for New England, blocking traffic.
Footage on social media shows protesters unfurl a banner in the colors of the Palestinian flag with the words “Free Palestine” while standing on top of the awning of the building where the consulate is located.
In Washington, thousands of protesters streamed from the Washington Monument and to the National Archives. In Philadelphia, demonstrators filled Rittenhouse Square to decry U.S. support for Israel.
At a protest in Pittsburgh, one speaker called on lawmakers to put restrictions on how Israel can spend aid from the United States.
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The protests were stoked by five days of mayhem that left at least 145 Palestinians dead in Gaza and eight dead on the Israeli side. The violence, set off by Hamas firing a rocket into Israel on Monday, came after weeks of mounting tensions and heavy-handed Israeli measures in contested Jerusalem.
Israel stepped up its assault and slammed the Gaza Strip with airstrikes Saturday, in a dramatic escalation that included bombing the home of a senior Hamas leader, killing a family of 10 in a refugee camp and destroying a building that houses the offices of The Associated Press and other media.