VIDEO: Protesters rally in support of the Palestinian Territories. (Spectrum News 1/Natalie Sopyla)
MADISON, Wis. — Protesters crowded the streets of Madison’s Capitol Square Saturday with messages of support for the Palestinian Territories.
The rally was organized by the Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine, a group of more than 50 organizations from across the state.
For Middleton, Wis., resident Rebecca Alwin, it’s an issue that’s close to her heart. Nearly 20 years ago, she traveled to the area, meeting Palestinians and Israelis.
“I saw it firsthand with my own eyes and heard with my own ears from Palestinian people who were really struggling to be able to stay in their ancestral homeland in Palestine,” Alwin said. “We also met with Israeli people and heard about their concerns for their safety.”
She said it was an eye-opening experience. She said learning more about the war over the years brought her to the rally on Saturday.
“The violence that’s being inflicted, it is not keeping anyone safe,” she said. “It’s not keeping Israelis safe. It’s not keeping Palestinians safe.”
The number one message of many of the speakers at the rally was for an end to the violence. It’s this message that brought Madison, Wis., resident Jennifer Hedstrom and her friends to the event.
“I am extremely disturbed at what’s happening in Gaza with all of the massacres and constant, just constant bombing,” she said.
The rally was one of several events held throughout the week in the Madison area that not only called for an end to the war but showcased aspects of Palestinian culture.
Hedstrom said it felt good to unite with others for a common cause.
“I feel less isolated, because it can feel very isolating when you’re just at home and you’re thinking about these things,” she said. “But to see other people who care about it is motivating and just heartening.”
Songs and poetry accompanied the chanting and marching. While the event was peaceful, the message was a forceful call for change.
“What I personally would like to see come out of it is a recognition that the two-state solution is only an excuse for international communities and especially the United States to not take any real significant long-lasting action,” Alwin said.
“I would just love for the Palestinian people to be free to live their lives in their homes and to be free of violence and oppression,” Hedstrom said.