Anti-Israel Demonstration - West LA on Jan. 10, 2009
On Saturday the 10th of January, 2009, I attended a demonstration against Israel’s recent invasion of Gaza. The protest and march was sponsored by the Marxist front group International Answer, as well as a variety of other Leftist and Muslim organizations. It was scheduled to start with a rally along Wilshire Blvd in front of the Los Angeles Federal Building, directly across the street from the Los Angeles National Cemetery.
When I arrived there were a few hundred people already lined up along the sidewalk of one of the busiest sections of Wilshire Blvd, which is the main surface street that connects Downtown L.A. to the Westside and Santa Monica.
As traffic crawled past, the demonstrators chanted, "Free, Free Palestine!" and waved their signs and flags out into the street. Slowly the grassy area outside of the Federal Building began to fill up with people, most of whom were wearing black and white, or red, Palestinian keffiyehs. Leftists set up tables to display their books and literature.
By 12:45pm, there were more than one thousand people gathered on all four corners of the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Veteran Ave. The chanting had now grown quite loud, as many in the crowd were actually screaming. And the chants had changed as well. Not only were they chanting the ubiquitous "Free, Free Palestine!", but also the more ominous Palestinian call to war, "Intifada, Intifada"… as well as the thinly veiled threat to destroy Israel, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!".
In the following video you hear a young woman leading a crowd in a chant of"Intifada, Intifada!"…
And in this video you can hear an enraged crowd chanting "Long live the Intifada!"
As I walked through the angry, chanting, pulsating crowd, I began to take pictures. The following photographs and videos document what I witnessed over the course of the next few hours…
The crowd appeared to be approximately 75% middle-eastern (presumably Muslim) and about 25% assorted Leftists, Marxists and old hippies… along with a handful of sincerely naive 15-20 year olds with Peace Sign placards and T-shirts.
This guy’s sign accused Los Angeles’ Democratic Mayor of being a "diapered poodle of Israel".
This old fellow proudly wore his Hammer and Sickle button.
While these crazy Marxists hoped that Israel’s defeat would usher in a new Socialist era.
But what was most noticeable was the profusion of signs featuring Swastikas, and signs comparing Israel (and sometime the U.S.) to Nazi Germany. They were literally everywhere one looked.
At one point, while I was standing in the middle of a dense crowd that was chanting "Allahu Akbar!" at the corner of Wilshire and Veteran, a Mercedes Benz drove slowly up the street waving an Israeli flag out of the car’s sunroof. Just as the car reached the intersection, the stoplight turned red and it was forced to stop directly in front of the mob of at least 100 anti-Israel demonstrators. As you will see in the following video, the crowd went wild. A number of men rushed into the street screaming and swinging their signs. They were pushed back by a few International ANSWER security people (in neon-yellow vests). One man can be seen with his shoe in hand as another old man in a striped shirt spits repeatedly on the car. Within moments more protesters come running towards the car from the other side of the street. One man actually has a little girl on his shoulders. It's complete pandemonium for about 45 seconds before the light turns and the Mercedes speeds away.
Where were the police you might ask?...Well, they were there - hundreds of them - on bicycles, horseback and on foot, but for the most part they stayed on the parameters of the protest.
They stayed on the parameters that is, until one of the demonstrators climbed out on the street light over the intersection and hung a large banner which read, "Freedom… We are all Gaza". At this point about 20 officers moved into the vortex of the demonstration, just as the protest was about to march down the boulevard. As they moved in to the base of the stoplight, the crowd moved in too and began to chant "Let him go! Let him go". In the following video you will see the police, completely surrounded, arrest the man as the angry mob moves in. I was sure there would be a riot at this point, and you'll see the LAPD did whack a few people to the ground, including a woman standing very close to me.
I have to say that this protest had some very tense moments, and there were a few times when I feared for my safety. On at least four occasions, people who I had photographed menacingly asked me, "Are you a Jew?". I am not Jewish so I could answer "No" without having had to lie, but I couldn't help but wonder what I would have done if I were Jewish - And what would have happened if I had said "Yes".
Which brings me to the counter protesters… Down the street, and separated by a line of police, there were some pro-Israel demonstrators. They were a small bunch, perhaps 10, no more than 15 total.
There was also this guy, who was pro-Israel, but also completely nuts. No one wanted to stand near him as he yelled out Bible passages while waving his arms frantically.
The following are more pictures of the pro-Palestinian, pro-Hamas, anti-Israel protesters. I'll start with this guy.
Here’s the front of his sign:
And here is the other side:
"The World Must Destroy Israel"
The Hamas Flag…
Here is another video of the demonstrators chanting, "Intifada"…
The World Can’t Wait cultists were on hand, too… of course.
And a few folks brought an extra shoe to throw.
Of all the things that I saw and heard, what disturbed me the most were the children. They were everywhere. Their young, innocent minds being poisoned with hatred.
After I took the following picture, an old man looked at me, smiling, and said, "That is a beautiful picture. They understand even when they are so young". I was horrified.
For pictures of the San Francisco demonstration please see zombie’s Gaza War Protest
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