Activists planned a demonstration advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza and in support of Palestinians near the Harry Bridges Plaza and San Francisco Ferry Building on Saturday, scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

The protest, which drew a crowd of thousands of people, marched along Market Street towards the freeway. A group of protesters continued to shut down traffic on the Central Freeway in downtown San Francisco for about 90 minutes around 4 p.m., as KNTV reported

Image by Holly Secon.

The rally follows concerns about the recent developments in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli attacks have intensified amid a widespread communications disruption, as KRON4 reports. On Friday, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on a 120-14 vote calling for a "humanitarian truce," but the U.S. and Israel voted against it, according to the AP.

Israel has said that it’s approaching “the next stage of its war with Hamas” as it has expanded its ground operations in Gaza this week, according to CNN. The toll of the conflict is staggering, with over 7,000 Gazans reported killed, including more than 3,000 children, and over 1.4 million displaced. International human rights groups have raised the alarm about the potential of even more mass atrocities.

This new action follows several protests (and counter-protests) in the Bay Area this month. On Tuesday night, Richmond City Council passed a resolution “affirming Richmond's support and solidarity” for Gaza and Palestine, after a charged public comment session lasted almost five hours. More than a thousand UC Berkeley students demonstrated on campus on Wednesday to show support for Gaza as well, per KPIX. Last week, protesters blocked entrances to the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building in San Francisco in a move to raise attention and convince Pelosi to back a congressional resolution for a ceasefire, per SFGATE. High school students across the Bay organized several walkouts earlier this month to also demand a ceasefire and to protest against Israeli military action against Gazan civilians, per Axios Local. And one rally earlier this month outside the Israeli consulate in SF drew hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators and a smaller group of pro-Israel counter-protestors who allegedly threw eggs at the crowd.

Polls show that more than 65% of voters across all political affiliations are urging a ceasefire in Gaza, according to KRON, and the public outcry is continuing to grow as President Biden's approval rating dropped this month.

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Feature image via Holly Secon.