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Hundreds March Through City of Dayton In Solidarity With Palestine

Hundreds of Dayton residents marched through the streets of Downtown Dayton Monday night to protest Israeli violence against Palestinians.

Drivers passing by honked their horns in solidarity, as demonstrators waved their Palestinian flags and chanted “free, free Palestine.”

The rally comes after a week of escalating attacks by the Israeli government and Palestinian militant group Hamas. As of Thursday, at least 230 Palestinians and at least 12 Israelis have been killed in the violence.

Organizers of the rally condemned the Israeli Defense Forces for airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and other recent attacks, like the raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the removal of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The rally was organized by a group of local Palestinian Americans, with help from the American Support Network for Palestine. They invited speakers to the stage, who recited poetry and shared their stories.

Bilal Daoud was one of those speakers. He used to live in the West Bank when he was younger. He remembers having to cross checkpoints just to go to school. His cousins are still there, and they text him every day.

“They couldn't stop talking about the pictures and videos they were seeing from the protests and the demonstrations and the rallies in Washington, D.C. and Chicago and San Francisco and Columbus and every city in the United States,” Daoud said.

Daoud went to Ohio State University, where he served as vice president of OSU Students for Justice in Palestine. He says he used to hate coming to rallies, but recent events have changed his mind.

“They couldn't stop telling me how much motivation it gave them to keep resisting, to keep pushing forward, to keep fighting against an enemy that has made their lives a living hell,” Daoud said.

Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire across the Gaza strip Thursday afternoon, according to the Associated Press. The truce would take effect at 2 a.m. on Friday.

Mawa Iqbal is a reporter for WYSO. Before coming to WYSO, she interned at Kansas City PBS's digital magazine, Flatland. There, her reporting focused on higher education and immigrant communities in the Kansas City area. She studied radio journalism at Mizzou, where she also worked for their local NPR-affiliate station as a reporter.