Giant multi-national protest in Chicago in solidarity with Palestine
Thousands of march in Chicago to show solidarity with the Palestinian people. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere / Chicago Sun-Times via AP

CHICAGO—On Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine held a giant protest in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Several thousand gathered downtown around 1:00 p.m. at the intersection of Michigan and Ida Wells. After rallying for almost two hours, protesters marched along to Walker and returned through Lake Street.

The protest was notable for its diversity and the expressiveness of participants. It included children, teenagers, youth, and adults, as well as seniors. Demonstrators traveled from near and far to participate.

“In addition to people of Illinois, protesters came from other states like Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, and Florida,” said Najeh Zaghlol, director of the Palestinian Union Center, who also donated a bus to transport demonstrators.

Besides Palestinians and Arabs, the protest included African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and white people, with a variety of faiths represented—Muslims, Christians, Jews, and the secular.

Demonstrators wore Palestinian black and white headscarves, “kufiyahs,” and carried hundreds of Palestinian flags, along with both the U.S. and Chicago flags. Some protesters raised the banners of their own countries of origin.

Seen among the marching crowds were the flags of Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Yemen, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, and more.

Protesters hoisted signs highlighting many topics related to the current Israeli siege of Gaza, with many focused on U.S. funding for the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and his military. Some of them read, “Stop funding Israel now” and “Stop the U.S.-backed genocide in Gaza.”

One rhyming entry declared, “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israeli crimes.”

Others focused on Palestinians’ right to defend themselves from bombardment, saying, “Resistance is justified when people are occupied.”

Many appealed to humanitarian concerns for the civilians being killed in this war. “To stand with Palestine is to stand with humanity,” said one demonstrator. “You don’t need to be Muslim to stand up for Gaza, you just need to be human,” said another.

Drawing attention to the tragic number of children killed by Israeli bombs, one person carried a sign saying, “The smallest coffins are the heaviest.”

A group of medical workers, including physicians in white coats and nurses in uniforms, participated as well. They raised pictures of bombed-out Gaza hospitals and photos of injured and murdered children.

Their banners drew attention to U.S. government complicity in Netanyahu’s war, reading, “Israel bombs hospitals. Biden pays for it” and “Code Blue Gaza: Stop medical terrorism.” Some protesters chanted, “Biden Biden you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”

A large contingent of Jewish supporters of the ceasefire marched under slogans including, “Jews for a free Palestine” and “Anti-Zionism is a Jewish duty.”

After hours of marching, participants gathered for a final rally and issued a resounding call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, an end to the ethnic cleansing of the people of Gaza, and the liberation of Palestine.

We hope you appreciated this article. At People’s World, we believe news and information should be free and accessible to all, but we need your help. Our journalism is free of corporate influence and paywalls because we are totally reader-supported. Only you, our readers and supporters, make this possible. If you enjoy reading People’s World and the stories we bring you, please support our work by donating or becoming a monthly sustainer today. Thank you!


Aboulfotouh Kandil
Aboulfotouh Kandil

Aboulfotouh Kandil is a freelance writer on socio-political issues and human rights with a main focus on the Middle East.