PROVINCETOWN — A “Provincetown for Gaza Rally” captured the attention of residents and visitors here on Sunday afternoon.
Six thousand miles away, Israeli forces had begun an invasion of Gaza after a three-week-long air campaign and siege following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack and hostage-taking in Israel.
The demonstration was organized by 19 fellows from the Fine Arts Work Center; its focus was a call for U.S. leaders to demand a ceasefire.
Standing in front of Provincetown Town Hall, FAWC fellow Molly Anders read the organizers’ statement: “We call on the U.S. for an immediate ceasefire and to stop sending weapons to the Israeli military as it carries out mass atrocities against Palestinians, more than half of whom are children.”
Demonstrators gathered in front of town hall for 45 minutes before proceeding down Commercial Street. Amid the town’s lively Halloween weekend festivities, the rally stood out in both message and mood.
“I’m happy that they’re out here protesting for peace and for an end to the Gaza invasion,” said Provincetown resident Christopher Buczek, watching the rally from the sidewalk.
“How could you go for one side when both sides are guilty?” asked Maurice Greenberg of Wellfleet, observing the demonstration from his minivan. “The killing is on both sides.”
“It’s too much,” said New York City visitor Jason Totaro, disturbed by the pro-Palestinian sentiment on demonstrators’ signs. “I would rather they just say ‘peace.’ ”
Near the Boatslip Resort, an unidentified man on a bike shouted at the demonstrators, “Why don’t you move to Palestine and get bombed?” The demonstrators, unfazed, kept marching.
Myra Kooy was one of only a handful of Provincetown residents who joined in. “Palestinians are suffering,” said Kooy. “The only way for us ever to find our way is through some form of unity.”
“We’re calling for a ceasefire because our government is complicit in a genocide,” said FAWC fellow David Hutcheson.
Israel reports that the initial attacks and further rocket attacks from Gaza have claimed more than 1,400 lives since Oct. 7. Health officials in Gaza report that there have been over 8,000 casualties there, according to the New York Times.