Action Report: Red Line Protest Against Gaza Genocide in Washington DC

Photo courtesy of Amna Saeed-Kothe

By Joseph Fandrey

On Saturday June 8th, 75,000 demonstrators from across the country descended on Washington DC to protest the US’ support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza. In early May, Biden drew a red line for invading Israeli forces saying: “if [IDF forces] go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities.” When Israel began bombing Rafah in late May–including a strike on an Israeli-designated ‘safe zone’ killing 45 Palestinians–the Biden administration went back on his word and refused to cease supplying Israel with bombs. Outraged by Biden’s meaningless red line, protestors surrounded the White House with red fabric to form ‘the People’s Red Line.’ 

At midnight on Friday, Massachusetts Peace Action members boarded buses alongside hundreds of activists from the Boston area to attend the historic protest and represent Massachusetts on the Red Line. The protestors represented the Boston branches of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the ANSWER coalition, and Shut It Down for Palestine. Upon our arrival on Saturday morning, we joined the already massive crowd at Lafayette Square Park in front of the White House. 

Beginning at noon, speakers from PSL, ANSWER, Students for Justice in Palestine, Palestinian Youth Movement, and the Palestinian Community Network addressed the crowd. The sea of signs with slogans like “Arms Embargo on Israel” and “Biden’s Red Line Was A Lie!” blocked my view of the White House. Muhammed, speaking on behalf of the Palestinian Youth Movement, announced that the PYM will be targeting Maersk. Maersk is the largest logistics management firm in the World, shipping thirty percent of arms components for Northrup Gruman, Raytheon, Woodward, and Lockheed Martin. The PYM identified Maersk as a “major artery of imperialism” as a result of its critical role in the transportation of American warplanes supplied to Israel. 

Brian Becker, National Coordinator for ANSWER, took the stage shortly after to inform the demonstrators of the Israeli perpetrated Nuseirat Massacre executed that morning. Israeli forces embedded themselves in faux humanitarian aid trucks–a war crime–to launch a hostage rescue operation. IDF forces killed 274 Palestinians, including 64 children, and wounded 700 in an operation to rescue 4 Israeli hostages. Becker denounced Biden saying “you may speak in our name, but not with our consent. We charge you with genocide.” 

After the speakers concluded, activists led the crowd to the White House. The administration surrounded the White House with anti-scaling fences identical to those President Trump had erected in response to Black Lives Matter protests. The fences surrounded the entire federal complex including the White House, US Treasury, and the Eisenhower Executive Building creating a barrier miles long. The demonstrators, wearing red, formed a ring around the complex nearly five dozen bodies wide at its thickest points and one dozen thick at its weakest points. An unbroken chain of demonstrators surrounded the White House with red fabric inscribed with the names of slain Palestinian civilians. 

At 4, the protestors mobilized to the Ellipse to attend the People’s Court of Justice where activists put US and Israeli officials on trial for crimes against humanity and genocide. Speakers delivered testimony transmitted from Palestinians living under Israeli bombardment. One testified: if I die, “I died oppressed with many unachieved dreams. I died while I was still longing for life.” Other speakers detailed Israel’s intentional destruction of hospitals, killing of journalists,  and targeting of civilians while implicating the US for their unconditional support. The jury found the US and Israel guilty on all charges.

-Joseph Fandrey is an intern at Massachusetts Peace Action