Security upped at White House ahead of rally against Israel for responding to Oct. 7

Council on American Islamic Relations says events are to denounce ‘eight months of slaughter and starvation in Gaza’ that followed Hamas attack, which it makes no mention of

Activists protest outside of the White House during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Washington, November 4, 2023. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
Activists protest outside of the White House during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Washington, November 4, 2023. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON — Activists demanding an end to the war in Gaza and American support for Israel plan to surround the White House during a weekend protest, prompting additional security measures, including anti-scale fencing.

Advocacy and activist groups like CODEPINK and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) say that demonstrations are planned on Saturday, to mark eight months since Israel began its military offensive in Gaza against Hamas following the terror group’s October 7 onslaught.

The United States, Israel’s key ally, has seen months of pro-Palestinian protests against Israel ranging from marches in Washington and vigils near the White House to the blocking of bridges and roads near train stations and airports in multiple cities and encampments on many college campuses. Protesters have also disrupted some of Biden’s reelection campaign events. Biden is currently in France for an official visit.

Protests for Gaza and against Israel began immediately after the October 7 attacks and even before Israel’s military response to Hamas kicked into high gear.

On its website, CAIR said the rallies are to mark “eight months of slaughter and starvation in Gaza and demand that President Biden enforce his red line on Rafah by ending US support for the Israeli government’s genocide,” without mentioning Hamas or the terror group’s attack that initiated the war.

A US Secret Service spokesperson said: “In preparation for the events this weekend in Washington, DC, that have the potential for large crowds to gather, additional public safety measures have been put in place near the White House complex.”

Biden and the White House have previously said they support peaceful protests, but not “chaos” and violence.

University protests have had occasional violence, while police have made arrests on campuses to clear encampments.

There has also been concern about a rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia amid the conflict.

War erupted following the devastating Hamas onslaught on October 7, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 251 hostages, mostly civilians, many amid acts of brutality and sexual assault.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 36,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far. Of these, some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals or through self-reporting by families, with the rest of the figure based on Hamas “media sources.” The tolls, which cannot be verified, include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Two hundred and ninety-five soldiers have been killed during the ground offensive against Hamas and amid operations along the Gaza border. A civilian Defense Ministry contractor has also been killed in the Strip.

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