Chattanooga area protesters support Palestine

photo Chattanooga residents gather at Miller Park on Saturday to support Palestine in the current conflict between Hamas and Israel.

A young boy stood in Miller Park on Saturday afternoon holding a sign that read "Stop the Israeli Terrorism."

He did not stand alone.

More than 200 people crowded the park in downtown Chattanooga chanting, "Free! Free, Palestine!" The event was a part of a series of statewide protests sponsored by Concerned Citizens for Justice.

"We recognize that there is total intersection between what is happening to the Palestinian community overseas and what has happened with apartheid and Jim Crow to people who identify as African-American," said Ash-Lee Henderson, an organizer with Concerned Citizens for Justice.

"As a black liberation organization we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Also, as Tennesseans we stand in solidarity with folks across the states that are also saying, 'We deserve a free Palestine,'" Henderson said.

The protesters listened as Palestinian Dr. Fouad Moughrabi, former head of the Department of Political Science at UTC, spoke on what is occurring in Gaza.

"It is the failure of the world community not to put a stop to this," he said. "People are outraged and not just here, but throughout the world."

"My heart is glowing by the fact that there are so many people here to protest. This is a measure of how horrible things are, how outraged people are, and this is a message to the U.S. government, our senators and congressman."

Israel retaliated with air and ground attacks after Hamas militants attacked it with rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip. More than 1,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 42 Israelis have been killed since Israel launched the Gaza offensive, The Associated Press reported.

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at or at 423-757-6592.