Friday, January 2, 2009

Ann Arbor:

Carrying signs that read, "Smash Israel Apartheid", "Reject Zionism" and "Stop the Massacre in Gaza", about 150 marched for Gaza.

"Demonstrators gathered in front of the federal building in downtown Ann Arbor to protest action by the Israeli military in Gaza. As many as 150 chanted and walked in the campus and downtown areas." Photo by


"Demonstrators protest Israel's actions in Gaza"

by Tracy Davis | The Ann Arbor News (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

Friday, January 2, 2009

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A large group of people gathered in front of the federal building in downtown Ann Arbor Friday afternoon to protest action by the Israeli military in Gaza.

Carrying signs that read, "Smash Israel Apartheid," "Reject Zionism" and "Stop the Massacre in Gaza," about 150 chanted and walked up Liberty Street towards campus before swinging back down State and Washington streets.

The group started with some 35 people at 3 p.m. but grew rapidly and shortly before 4 p.m. began walking east. Protesters were met with honks of support from passing vehicles.

Kawther Mohammed, a Washtenaw Community College alumna and organizer with the school's Muslim Student Association, said she had worked hard to promote Friday's event and turn people out.

"We're here to voice the oppression in Gaza," she said. "They don't have a fair story over there."

Phil Carroll of the Ann Arbor Coalition Against War said that with a new president about to take office, he said, it was especially important to force the country to rethink its Israel policy, he said.

The protest was one of many worldwide Friday, as thousands across the globe rallied against events in Gaza following prayers; Fridays are a traditional gathering opportunity for Muslims.

In Tehran, a crowd of about 6,000 stretching for a half-mile (kilometer) marched from prayers at Tehran University to Palestine Square, chanting "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" and burning Israeli flags.

About 30,000 Jordanians gathered at a stadium in Amman shouting their support for Gaza and calling for the abolition of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty signed in 1994. And more than 10,000 Muslims marched through Indonesia's capital Jakarta to protest the ongoing bombing raids in Gaza, aiming fake missiles labeled "Target: Tel Aviv, Israel" at the U.S. Embassy.

In the Afghan capital of Kabul, about 3,000 people gathered outside a prominent mosque, according to police estimates. Men in the crowd threw stones and shoes at an effigy of President George W. Bush.

In Turkey, Israel's closest ally in the region, some 5,000 people denounced the Israeli raids outside a mosque in Istanbul, burning Israeli and U.S. flags and reciting funeral prayers for the victims.

Israel launched the aerial campaign last Saturday in a bid to halt weeks of intensifying Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza. The offensive has dealt a heavy blow to Hamas, but has failed to halt the rocket fire. New attacks Friday struck apartment buildings in a southern Israeli city.

More than 400 Gazans have been killed and some 1,700 have been wounded in the Israeli campaign, Gaza health officials said.

The number of combatants and civilians killed is unclear, but Hamas has said around half of the dead are members of its security forces and the U.N. has said more than 60 are civilians, 34 of them children.

--The Associated Press contributed to this report. Tracy Davis can be reached at or 734-994-6856.