PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Demonstrators rallying at Portland State University on Thursday in support of Palestinians as the war continues between Israel and Hamas.
The rally, organized by PSU’s Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, is calling for the end to the occupation of Gaza It comes during a second week of conflict in the Middle East, leaving thousands dead.
“I cannot imagine,” one attendee, Lyn Neeley, said. “We have no idea what it’s like.”
An estimated 800 people attended the event, chanting, “Occupation has got to go.” The event also included several speakers — including one woman who grew up in Gaza, where the church she went to was reportedly bombed today.
“I have people I grew up with that have died in this bombing,” she said. “Gazans who have survived are losing their parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles.”
Many took the event to call for a ceasefire and an end to the controversial area’s occupation.
“We want a ceasefire now, but that is not enough. In order for the violence to end, the occupation must end,” one anonymous speaker said. “Their houses are gone, everything is gone…They don’t even have a place to live.”
Others, including attendee Ahmed Alzubaidy, are urging people to learn more about the history of the conflict.
“That conflict didn’t start on Oct. 7; it started years ago,” Alzubaidy said. “We need to look back at the historical lens.”
Organizers tell KOIN 6 they did not know of any counter protests at the event. However, attendees say they hope friends and the greater community will take this as an opportunity to learn more about the conflict.
“All I’m doing right now is educating my friends and family and community,” Karrar, another attendee, said.
This is a developing story. Updates will come later in the day.