Droves of protesters headed to downtown Chicago Friday evening to condemn "the latest Israeli brutalization of Palestinians" hours after a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine went into effect.
Rallygoers gathered in the area of Michigan Avenue and Ida B. Wells Drive, with many of them chanting and holding signs. Participants then took part in a march throughout the streets of downtown.
A cease-fire began early Friday morning, ending an 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a halt. The fighting killed at least 227 in Gaza and 12 in Israel.
The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine, which organized the evening rally and march, condemned attacks on Palestinians and marked victory achieved by the ceasefire.
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"The Palestinian civilian population was being attacked in Jerusalem and in the West Bank by the Israeli military and police, and the Palestinians have the right to resist and the right to self-defense," said Hatem Abudayyeh with the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine.
Daniel Aschheim, consul for public diplomacy with the Israeli Consulate to the Midwest, said Israel is using its right for self-defense.
"We could have avoided this very unfortunate situation without even needing to discuss ceasefires if Hamas would have not started to shoot rockets at Israel," he said.
Aschheim said Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza, attacked civilians.
"We were very careful, we did our best to differentiate between the civilian population of the Gaza Strip and the Hamas terrorists," he said.
At Friday evening's march, one demonstrator pleaded with people to educate themselves, as well as others, and raise awareness.
"We will never give up," said demonstrator Guevara Alsheikh, who is of Palestinian descent.