Pro-Palestine protesters gather in front of The Ritz-Carlton

Photo courtesy of WEBN

By Avary Amaral, WEBN

Pro-Palestine demonstrators gathered outside The Ritz-Carlton hotel Thursday afternoon to protest the ongoing conflict in Gaza, hoping for Vice President Kamala Harris to hear their chants. Avery Street was crowded with people. Protesters held signs and pieces of paper with pro-Palestine messages, grouping around the front doors of The Ritz-Carlton as multiple speakers set up in the street. Many protestors wore a keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian scarf.

Photo courtesy of Axelle Yanakakis-Carroll

Mariam, one of the speakers in front of The Ritz-Carlton, criticized Harris for getting her votes by “playing into her identity and her void devotion to social justice,” she said. “Harris and Joe Biden, the fact that you’ve made dozens of efforts to censor powerful Palestinian voices that are critical of Israel and the United States shows that the First Amendment protection of free speech is a fictitious illusion of democracy when in reality we live in a dystopia and we will not be afraid.”

Mariam then led multiple chants with the surrounding protestors, some ringing cowbells and rhythmically beating homemade drums. One chant that was repeated by the demonstrators states, “Kamala, Kamala, what do you say? How many kids did you kill today? Kamala, Kamala, what do you see? You are on a killing spree.” The demonstrators also repeated the Arabic term “intifada” multiple times, literally translating to “shake off” but used in context to mean “rebellion” or “uprising”.

Standing to the side of the large group of Pro-Palestine demonstrators were a few people holding “We stand with Israel” signs. Narben Zion, among them, said, “I’m here to try to raise some awareness of what’s happening in Israel and Gaza. I think that the demonstration we’re seeing right now showing the Palestinian side is not accurate to say the least. Everything that’s happening now in Gaza is Hamas’s fault. A horrific massacre happened on Oct. 7, without anything we did before that. I mean, it was a mere act of barbarism.”

Photo courtesy of Axelle Yanakakis-Carroll

As the group of demonstrators moved towards the AMC theater on Tremont, Eli Gerzon held up a banner with another individual that said, “Boston Jews Say Free Palestine” on the sidewalk near the Boston Commons. When asked why they came to the protest today, they said, “10,000 human beings have been killed. There’s nothing else. No other reason you need.” 

They added that another reason why they decided to participate in the demonstration was because the trauma of Jewish people surviving the holocaust is being used as “an excuse to commit more trauma and genocide against the Palestinian people”. They said, “Never again, means never again, for every human being, for every race and every religion. Never again is now and I think that us Jews are raised to believe that we are the victim of so many things, and we have been, but the victim can become the oppressor very easily. It happens all the time.” 

Gerzon also said that they are a part of the Jewish Voice for Peace, a human rights organization. They said, “Our numbers have been growing exponentially since this happened. So many people see this who are Jewish, they see what Israel is doing and they are opposed to it. So I invite those people to join all decent people and opposing a genocide.”

The movement of demonstrators moved around the block to the corner of Washington Street and Boylston Street. In response, State Police began to stand shoulder to shoulder to block the continuation of protestors down Boylston Street. Some used their bikes to prevent movement until barricades were eventually used. The demonstrators were not deterred by this and continued to chant in a line stretching across the street, from Liberty Tree Plaza to the Chinatown T station.