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San Francisco police detain dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters (VIDEOS)

Activists from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network occupied the Israeli consulate, protesting against the military operation in Gaza

Police in San Francisco have detained 70 pro-Palestinian activists after they occupied the Israeli consulate in the US city, in protest against the Jewish state’s military operation in Gaza.

In a post on Instagram, a group named the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network claimed that 100 people had participated in the demonstration on Monday, which saw activists stage a sit-in in the lobby of the building that houses the Israeli diplomatic mission.

Activists carried placards and unfurled several banners inside the building, reading:“Committing a genocide makes Jews less safe” and “Not in my name!” They also chanted slogans calling for an end to any financial assistance to the Israeli government, as reported by several local media outlets.

One protester told the San Francisco Chronicle that the sit-in was necessary because “these kind of devastating and catastrophic times of genocide require strong action.” Activists told reporters that they planned to occupy the consulate until they were “forcibly” removed.  

Police began detaining the group after noon. Officers were seen escorting protesters, whose hands were bound by zip-ties, and loading them into police vans outside the building.   

In an email to the Jweekly media outlet, police representative Paulina Henderson wrote that “officers announced multiple warnings to the individuals to disperse and exit the private property on their own accord.” According to the official, “officers developed probable cause to arrest 70 suspects who refused to vacate the building.”  

The incident had not resulted in any injuries, she added, with the activists taken to San Francisco County Jail and released later in the afternoon.    

Marco Sermoneta, Israel’s consul general to the Pacific Northwest, said in statement that “we are appalled, but not surprised, at the attempt by a handful of pro-Hamas rioters to violently compromise our ability to operate as a diplomatic mission.”  

READ MORE: Pro-Palestine protesters ‘occupy’ Brooklyn Museum (VIDEOS)

He accused the activists of celebrating or denying violent acts perpetrated by Palestinian militant group Hamas, also branding them anti-Semites.

Israel declared war on Hamas following the Islamist group’s incursion into Israeli territories in October, in which militants killed around 1,200 people and took another 250 hostage. The Israeli aerial bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza that have followed have reportedly claimed the lives of at least 36,439 people. The vast majority of victims in the densely-populated Palestinian enclave are civilians, according to the local Hamas-controlled Health Ministry.

Protests denouncing what some view as Israel’s disproportionate response have since taken place in multiple Western countries, including the US. American universities in particular have emerged as major flashpoints. Late last month, hundreds of graduates walked out of a commencement ceremony at Harvard University, calling for an end to the bloodshed in Gaza. They also denounced the disqualification of fellow students involved in previous protests.

June 04, 2024 at 03:54PM

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