Protesters in Florida demonstrate against Gaza bombardment, Israel ‘imperialism’

A few dozen protesters stood on the corner of North Ocean Boulevard and Freedom Street in Hollywood on Sunday, demonstrating against Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip.

In what was billed by the Broward County chapter of Black Lives Matter as a peaceful protest, the crowd of mostly young people waved signs and chanted slogans at passing vehicles. A few honked in apparent support.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Zionism has to go,” one chant went.

Signs declared “Stop Killing Gaza Kids” and “I Support Palestinian Human Rights.” One declared, “Jews for Palestinian Liberation.”

It was one of several demonstrations that took place in South Florida since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the terrorist organization Hamas, and the bombing campaign that Israel has been waging in the Gaza Strip in response.

An event in Fort Lauderdale and another at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton culminated in counter protests, violence and arrests. When this one began at 2 p.m., a single pro-Israel counter-protester sat in a chair across the street with a handwritten sign that said, “Kill Nazi Hamas.”

Co-organizer Tifanny Burks said the demonstration was organized in “solidarity of people dying of genocide in Palestine.”

The Miramar resident called on the United States to divert money it sends to Israel from war to reparations and reconstruction.

A young man demonstrating with his face covered said he didn’t want to give his name because he feared repercussions from U.S. law enforcement agencies.

The man said he was protesting American imperialism, the “puppet state of Israel” and its “settler colonialism” in the Middle East.

Regarding the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas that triggered Israel’s punishing campaign in the region, the man said, “All people have the right to wage war against genocide and colonialism.”

Robert Kunst, who was the lone pro-Israel protester when the demonstration began, said of the pro-Palestine protestors, “This time it’s not going to work. This time, Israel will finish [Hamas] off.”

Reached after the event ended, Hollywood police spokeswoman Deanna Bettineschi said a “small handful” of pro-Israel protesters showed up before the demonstration ended at 4 p.m., but the two sides were peaceful and no arrests were made.