CHICAGO (WLS) --Organizers estimated they had 15,000 protestors marching with them Saturday. That estimate may be a little high, but it was a sizable crowd of Palestinian supporters that marched through the Loop this afternoon. They shut down several city streets as they tried to draw attention to the violence in Gaza.
They are trying to send a message from Chicago all the way to the Middle East, or at least to Washington.
Most of those who participated in the march are Palestinians who now live here and are worried about friends and loved ones in their homeland.
Palestinians in Gaza today emerged from hiding during a 12 hour humanitarian cease fire. They were able to survey the damage in places where buildings that took years to build were turned to rubble in minutes. They also tended to the dead, pulling 85 bodies out of one neighborhood alone. The total number of casualties in Gaza since this latest conflict began on July 8th has risen to more than 1,000. Some Palestinians surveyed the damage to the homes they spent their life savings on. Children recovered what they could find. There were also long lines at bank ATMs. This is the first chance in weeks many have had to access their money. It was emotional for many.
It is difficult for many Palestinians as well as Israelis in Chicago to watch the conflict in Gaza. Hamas refused a proposed longer cease fire. So tonight, the fighting continued.
Forty Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed since the conflict began. Hamas continues to fire missiles into Israel. Secretary of State John Kerry remains in Paris trying to negotiate a truce. Both sides have reportedly rejected his proposals for a longer cease fire at this point.