Lehigh Valley

Supporters flood Allentown streets for Gaza rally

Supporters flood Allentown streets for Gaza rally

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Israeli military announced Friday a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire will start in Gaza Saturday. It will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. A Hamas spokesman said the group also agreed to the cease-fire.

Earlier in the day in Allentown, hundreds of people gathered downtown to show support for Gaza.

The crowd of people holding signs and flags stood along 7th and Hamilton Streets.

"We're just here in solidarity with Gaza, people feel like this is the least they can do," said a man named Nagi, who didn't want to share his last name. He lives in Allentown and has relatives in Gaza.

"Horror stories, all I hear from them. We cannot get a hold of all of them because they had to move like three or four times," he said. "I'm lucky to get in touch with some of them but others so far we have not been able to get hold of."

Vince Stravino with Veterans for Peace said, "I'm out here today because I oppose militarism, war, and I see this sore spot in the Middle East and Americans are, I am supporting, with my tax money."

Emotions are running high for people who hope to see change.

"Frustrated, upset, angry and we're just wishing the United States would change course," said Nagi.

Shahida Qazi of Allentown said, "We think there has been enough humiliation and suppression of the Palestine people for over 40, 60 years."

"We're just here to raise awareness to show people what's going on in the world, in Gaza. There's literally a murder, there's a massacre, a genocide," said Ayat Abtelaziz of Allentown.

In coming out to show support, they hope to send a message.

"I think America has a leadership role to play," said Shoaib Chaudhary of Macungie.

"We are here to support the Palestinians, the killing they're doing right now is wrong. We are here to stand for their rights," he said.

With cars driving by the busy downtown intersection, Stravino said, "I hope they're going to think that that maybe there's another side to this story. Maybe Israel isn't the only democracy in the east and maybe there's a side to the Palestinians, also."

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