An estimated 10,000 people flooded the streets of downtown Chicago Saturday afternoon, shutting down streets and blocking traffic to show their support for the Palestinian people.
“Whenever there’s a protest just try to come out and donate as much as you can,” said participant Ghada Al-Abed. “Because they really need our help.”
Demonstrators, who traveled from near and far to participate, said they want lawmakers to listen what they have to say.
“I just want Congress to stand up and actually make a difference because I know we have the power too,” said Aisha Isa.“I just wish they would really stand up for us.”
Men, women, and children marched along Michigan Avenue demanding an end to the bloodshed.
“It’s not a religion or a state issue,” said Maryam Ayyad. “Honestly, it’s a humanitarian issue.”
Chicago police said officers took two men into custody during the protest. Video captured during the protest showed one of them being led away in handcuffs. Charges were pending as of Saturday night.
Hours later, dozens of Jewish community members gathered at Foster Beach Field House, where they lit candles and prayed for peace.
“Of all the tangled emotions that many of us have been feeling over the past couple of weeks, I think grief has been at the forefront for many of us,” one speaker said.
Rabbi Brant Rosen of the Jewish Congregation Tzedek Chicago organized the vigil. He’s also the co-founder of Jewish Fast for Gaza.
“This gathering tonight is one part of a growing voice of Jews and their allies who are saying we stand with the Palestinian people,” he said.
He and others are calling for a ceasefire.
“We cannot stay silent, and that’s why we’re here tonight,” he said.
Starting Sunday, the rabbi told NBC Chicago members will go on a fast. He said the plan is to donate any money they would have spent on food to direct aid organizations in Gaza.