Los Angeles protests: Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine
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Los Angeles protests: Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine

More than 300 protesters gathered peacefully outside the federal building on Wilshire Boulevard near UCLA, holding signs that proclaimed “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.” | Youtube snapshot

Palestinian rights groups rallied in Los Angeles Sunday afternoon against President Trump’s announcement that the US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, said a news report.

More than 300 protesters gathered peacefully outside the federal building on Wilshire Boulevard near UCLA, holding signs that proclaimed “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.” They chanted, “Free, free Palestine, occupation is a crime,” and, “No wall, no ban, no embassy on stolen land.”

“Jerusalem is, and will remain a Palestinian city,” said Amani Barakat, national chair of Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return, who organized the rally.

A group of about 30 counter-protesters gathered across the street holding “Stand with Israel” signs and yelling, “Stand with God’s people.”

Many protesters were Trump supporters and familiar faces at Southern California rallies, sources reported.

Rabbi Moshe Parry, who held a flag of Israel, said he came to show that Israel belongs to Jewish people and has for thousands of years, sayig “God gave it to us.”

Trump made the announcement on Wednesday, saying “old challenges demand new approaches,” and he initiated a process to transfer the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the ancient city.

LA’s protesters said Palestinians have endured discrimination, ethnic cleansing and occupation, with illegal Israeli settlements built on land they see as a future Palestinian state. Many said they recognize that Jerusalem is an important site for Jewish people, but said it should be regarded as important for people of other faiths as well.

Protesters were unsurprised by Trump’s announcement but saw it as a reckless move that crossed the line and eroded chances for both sides to reach a peaceful agreement.

Trump’s announcement sparked protests around the world. The change reversed decades of US policy and sparked widespread international criticism.

In Beirut on Saturday, thousands of protesters chanted slogans against Trump’s orders. Some threw rocks and set tires and a large trash container on fire outside the US embassy’s gated compound. Another huge protest is expected to take place in Beirut today, Monday.

“Trump’s declaration proves the very points we have been making for years: The U.S. is incapable of being an even-handed mediator,” said Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.