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‘Hands Off Rafah’ rally draws over 1000 attendees on Global Day of Action

Attendees, speakers, organizers discuss solidarity, “collective strength,” war between Israel, Hamas

“Today’s march was about joining forces to be able to show the collective strength” of people on the global stage, PSL R.I. Representative Satya Mohapatra wrote in a message to The Herald.
“Today’s march was about joining forces to be able to show the collective strength” of people on the global stage, PSL R.I. Representative Satya Mohapatra wrote in a message to The Herald.

On March 2, over 1,000 people attended the “Hands Off Rafah” rally at Memorial Park. The rally was led by the R.I. branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Palestinian Feminist Collective and the Brown Graduate Labor Organization. The group called for a “lasting ceasefire and an end to the siege on Gaza,” according to a PSL R.I. social media post

The protest was also supported by 15 other organizations, including Brown Academics for Justice in Palestine, Brown Jews for Ceasefire Now, Brown Students for Justice in Palestine, Brown School of Public Health for Palestine, Graduate Labor Organization, RISD Students for Justice in Palestine, URI Muslim Students Association and URI Young Democratic Socialists, according to a PSL R.I. social media post.

The rally was part of this year’s Global Day of Action, with demonstrations in over 115 cities around the world marching in solidarity with Rafah, according to PSL R.I. Representative Satya Mohapatra.  The “march was about joining forces to be able to show the collective strength” of people on the global stage, he wrote in a message to The Herald.

The demonstration, which included a march across downtown Providence, lasted three hours despite the day’s rain. For Mohapatra, the turnout showed “the strength of people” against the U.S. support of Israel. 


The rally featured seven speakers, including Graduate Labor Organization President Sherena Razek GS, who criticized institutional complicity in the conflict and praised the “brilliant movement of students and grad workers.” 

“I am honored to be here, but I don’t want to be here,” Razek said during the rally. “I don’t want to see the most horrific images we’ve witnessed in our lifetimes continue to be the first thing I look at every morning. (But) I have a duty and an obligation … so here we are.”

According to Ariela Rosenzweig ’24, who represented both Jews for Ceasefire Now and Brown SJP at the rally, it was neither her Jewish culture nor faith that compelled her to advocacy; it was her humanity.

“We know that it is our responsibility to stand alongside our friends and our peers in Palestine,” she said in her speech. 

Maura Potter, one of the rally attendees, said in an interview with The Herald that “​​a sustained effort for Palestinian people” is what motivates her to attend PSL R.I. rallies on a weekly basis. “I don’t agree with (our) taxes being sent to the Israeli government, and I don’t agree with the murder of Palestinian people in our name,” she said.

Kayla Fitzgerald, another rally attendee, said that “all we can do is tell our politicians that we don’t stand for this … and hope that change happens.”

For Mohapatra, the “working peoples’ struggle in the United States is connected with Palestinian struggle for liberation,” she wrote. 

Razek added that workers around the world are withholding their labor to resist being complicit in the war between Israel and Hamas. “It’s not just an act of solidarity with Palestine, but it’s a reclamation that organized labor belongs to the people and not to the bosses,” she said.

Nour Abaherah GS, a representative from the GLO Palestine Solidarity Caucus and Brown SPH for Palestine, said during her speech: “We have failed Gaza, and we need to let in aid now, ensuring their safety. We must receive a ceasefire now.” 

“I remember the first big rally was in the rain … and here we are again,” said Farah Awad, one of the event’s emcees and President of Students for Justice in Palestine at Rhode Island College. The attendees chanted: “Free, free Palestine.”


Avani Ghosh

Avani Ghosh is a Metro Editor covering politics & justice and community & activism. She is a sophomore from Ohio studying Health & Human Biology and International & Public Affairs. She is an avid earl grey enthusiast and can be found making tea in her free time.

Megan Chan

Megan is a Senior Staff Writer covering community and activism in Providence. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she spends her free time drinking coffee and wishing she was Meg Ryan in a Nora Ephron movie.

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