San Diegans join in global protests to end war in Gaza
Thousands of people worldwide took to the streets Thursday as part of "Shut it Down for Palestine," an international call to action to free Palestine.
In San Diego, hundreds took part at several locations to call for an end to the war in Gaza. At Northrop Grumman's office in Kearny Mesa, dozens of protesters gathered to demand the defense contractor stop arming Israel to put an end to what they call the "genocide of Gaza."
"They are contributing to the ongoing genocide by either sending funds or missiles or bombs to Gaza in order to continue the genocide that's happening on the Palestinian people," said Subrein Damanhoury, a member of the San Diego chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement.
Northrop Grumman is one the largest weapons manufacturers in the world.
During the protest, news broke that Israel had agreed to a four-hour daily humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza to allow civilians to flee. Damanhoury said that’s just putting a pause on the killing.
“We need a ceasefire completely," she said. "We need to stop bombing Gaza, we need our United States government to stop sending tax dollars in order to fund this. We need companies like this to stop sending bombs and missiles to bomb children.”
Gus Russell, who lives down the street from Northrop Grumman, said the Palestinian people are hurting. He said he understands the protesters' frustration, having worked in the Middle East.
"I don't think that I'm a good authority on it, but I do understand their frustrations and their need to do something about it,” Russell said.
The protest at Northrop Grumman was one of four planned "Shut it Down" protests in San Diego. The SEIU-USWW janitors protested in front of Rep. Juan Vargas' office in Chula Vista. And health care workers and students staged a walkout at UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Sally T. WongAvery Library.
At the UCSD protest, a poem from a Palestinian child's perspective was read aloud.
"I did not know from the bomb he and my family would die.
Never had the chance to hug him and say goodbye a day before I turned five.
But no cake or a gift to buy.
Father, Mother, little sister, big brother, please reply.
I miss you."
And the names of Palestinian children under five years old killed in the war were written on a roughly 8-foot-long banner. Organizers say those names represented less than 10% of the children killed.
“It is awful, but we must bear witness to it," said Grace Feng, a third-year medical student at UCSD. "To look at that and say, this is not even 10% is horrific, but it is something that is a call to action. It must be. It cannot be anything but a call for us to say, this has to stop.”
She said it’s important that health care professionals speak up because they are the ones treating the victims of war.