In a powerful display of solidarity, hundreds of pro-Palestine demonstrators, including renowned Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon, gathered in Union Square on Friday. The event, organized by Within Our Lifetime, saw protesters converge from various locations, chanting slogans such as “From New York to Gaza, globalize the intifada!” and waving Palestinian flags.
The initial group, numbering around 300, kicked off the rally at Union Square around 3 p.m. before making their way to the New York Public Library’s main branch.
Actress and activist Susan Sarandon addressed the crowd, sporting a playful Simpsons-themed bomber jacket. Sarandon joined the protesters in chanting controversial slogans like “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a phrase often criticized for its perceived antisemitic connotations.
The rally took a stand against the 1948 United Nations Partition Plan, rejecting a two-state solution and prompting concerns about the implied call for the destruction of Israel. Sarandon, in her speech, acknowledged the fear experienced by some Jewish individuals and drew attention to the plight of children in the region.
The group also voiced discontent with political figures, denouncing Mayor Eric Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul, and calling for the removal of President Joe Biden, referring to him as “Genocide Joe.”
Protesters with keffiyeh scarves held a banner reading “From Gaza to Jenin Revolution until victory,” symbolizing resistance between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Some distributed flyers outlining a “zone of direct action,” targeting specific entities associated with the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Within Our Lifetime organizer Nerdeen Kiswani accused “right-wing media” of misrepresenting a map, which she claimed highlighted organizations complicit in the Gaza Strip devastation. Kiswani criticized The New York Times for alleged whitewashing and condemned the media’s response to their activism.
After nearly two hours in Union Square, the protesters marched to Bryant Park, where they joined the #ShutItDown4Palestine rally, creating a formidable group of approximately 750 individuals. The “ShutItDown” movement, backed by various activist groups, advocates for global protests in support of Palestinians.
The rally showcased a diverse range of voices, with Sarandon’s presence elevating the prominence of the pro-Palestine cause, as demonstrators united to express their concerns about the ongoing conflict in the region.