Hundreds marched through Center City on Tuesday, protesting a deadly Israeli attack on a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza.
Carrying signs and raising fists in the air, the group started at the Israeli consulate at 19th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard and marched to City Hall and then to the Inquirer-Daily News Building at 400 N. Broad St.
"We march for Palestine," said Cherine Morsi, 28, of Philadelphia. "My family's from the Middle East. Stuff like this hits pretty close to home."
Next to her, Khaled Mostafa, 39, of Abington, clutched a sign that read: "Israel, you can stop one boat, but you can't stop a movement."
On Monday, the "Freedom Flotilla" - a convoy of ships with about 600 passengers - was attempting to break Israel's three-year blockade of Gaza and bring supplies to the area when it was attacked in international waters. At least nine people were killed and others wounded in the attack.
The local protest, which swelled to about 300 people at one point, was organized in the middle of the night, said Hannah Schwarzchild, a member of Philadelphia Jews for Just Peace, one of the groups that spearheaded the march.
Several students from Central High School joined the protest. Lucas Koerner wore a T-shirt that read "We will not be silent," in English, Arabic, and Hebrew. He said he and other Central students formed a group called Middle East Justice Alliance to protest Israeli actions in Gaza and U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We want to appeal to the general public to urge the United States to stop Israel, to move them to make a change," said Tahreem Chaudhry, a Central High senior and group vice president.
As the protest ended, people laid dozens of signs at the front door of the newspaper building.
"Innocent people have been killed," said Amnah Ahmad, 23, a native Palestinian living in North Philadelphia. "We want the American people to remember what's going on in Palestine. People shouldn't support the terrorists, as we call them."