Protesters block traffic in downtown Raleigh, demanding Gaza ceasefire

Protesters calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip briefly blocked a downtown street Sunday in a standoff with Raleigh police, then continued their rally while officers followed behind them.

Roughly 100 people crowded into East Hargett Street next to Moore Square, calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel and demanding to be allowed to march further.

Raleigh police blocked them from crossing Blount Street, creating a standoff with the crowd.

”End the occupation now!” they chanted, along with, “Let us march!”

Protesters demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war block traffic near Moore Square in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, on Jan. 28, 2024.
Protesters demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war block traffic near Moore Square in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, on Jan. 28, 2024.

Police vehicles blocked the protesters’ truck on both sides, so just before 5 p.m., they began marching without it.

The march continued through downtown, as Raleigh police followed protesters with blue lights flashing.

Protesters demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war block traffic in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024.
Protesters demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war block traffic in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024.

Manzoor Cheema, one of the rally’s organizers, said police objected to the protesters’ truck, forcing the standoff for about 30 minutes.

”Our movement is growing, and we’re going to continue to march,” he said, as the crowd swelled to 200 and moved down Hargett Street. “But we think this is a violation of our rights.”

The march was organized by roughly 10 human rights organizations, which want Raleigh’s City Council to back a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.