FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — People gathered in Frederick, Maryland to rally in support of the Freedom of Palestine movement after more than 10 days of fighting between Israeli forces and the pro-Palestinian organization, Hamas.
Rally-goers wanted their chants to be heard in Washington D.C; Chants of “freedom for Palestine” and to denounce the attacks on Palestinians in Israel. People gathered with Palestinian flags and handmade signs along West Patrick Street to bring awareness to the nearly 11-day war. The rally also featured speakers from the Palestinian community as well as Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor.
Mayor Michael O’Connor told rally-goers the members of the community celebrate the “great diversity” seen in the city of Frederick. He went on to explain the city and its vast and diverse community members are “happy to stand in solidarity with people who are advocating for peace and hope and self-determination.”
“We know that in celebrating those differences it is important for us to remember that we also have to celebrate our shared humanity,” Mayor O’Connor said.
Mariam Aslam is Pakistani American and stated the violence that occurred in Gaza should not be a dividing issue. She believes people should focus on the lives lost regardless of which side of the conflict they agree with.
“This is not an issue about race, religion, any, this is an issue about a humanitarian crisis. If one person is hurting, no matter who you are,” Aslam said. “Everyone must stand together because the only way we have power is if we have unity.”
Adam Morrar is Palestinian American and grew up in Frederick. He has visited family in the West Bank every year and vehemently condemns the violence and oppression of Palestinians. He compared the conflict in Gaza to the apartheid that lasted over four decades in South Africa.
“Gaza is literally a prison. People are stuck there, they can’t leave, they can’t bring in trade, and unemployment is above 50%. I mean, they feel they have nothing to do,” Morrar said. “This is how their apartheid system works. It discriminates against them the Palestinians who live, who are supposed to be living co-equally with the Israelis there. This is the same as the South African apartheid, that’s what I that’s what people need to understand. Why are these stories never told?”
On May 21, the Israeli government and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire in which both sides claimed victory. But rally-goers in Frederick are still calling for an end to the oppression of Palestinians.