(KRON) — Video shows more than 600 Bay Area Jewish people and allies gathered at the Oakland Federal Building Monday night to protest “the Israeli military’s siege on Gaza,” according to event organizers.
The sit-in happened just miles away from where President Biden and Vice President Harris will be attending APEC. Organizers of the demonstration–the Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area Chapter and IfNotNow Bay Area–are asking the President and Vice President to follow Oakland-Berkeley Representative Barbara Lee’s (D) lead in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
“We are here as Jews who refuse to let the Israeli government perpetrate unspeakable violence in our name,” the organization said in a social media post.
Video shows protesters wearing shirts that say, “Not in our name” holding signs that say things like “Stop U.S. aid for genocide” and “Let Gaza Live” and singing “ceasefire now” in unison.
Adam Schiff (D) and Katie Porter (D), the other two candidates vying to replace former Senator Dianne Feinstein, also condemned the violence between Israel and Hamas after the initial attacks on Oct. 7.
Oakland District 2 council president Nikki Fortunato Bas also sent a letter Monday addressed to President Biden, California Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler and members of Congress, the White House and the U.S. Capitol calling for a ceasefire.
“The U.S. government must do everything in its power to save Palestinian children and families in Gaza, protect journalists and healthcare workers and support the release of all hostages,” Fortunato Bas said in her letter. She instead wants to direct the money recently sent in aid to Israel toward a “humanitarian, dignified and peaceful resolution.”
“Guns and bombs will not bring freedom or safety for either Palestinians or Israelis,” the organizers of the protest said. “Only by ending the current cycle of violence can we possible begin addressing the root causes that led us here and move towards a future where this kind of mass violence can never happen again.”
Officers with the Oakland Police Department responded to reports of the protest just after 4:15 p.m. in the 1300 block of Clay Street. They are assisting the Federal Protective Service with evacuating employees from the building and traffic control, OPD said in a statement.