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Sunday May 3rd, 2015 7:58PM

Demonstrators rally in Atlanta over war in Gaza

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTA (AP) Hundreds of protesters on either side of the war in Gaza faced off on a busy downtown Atlanta street Friday, chanting and waving signs or flags. <br /> <br /> Atlanta Police estimated about 500 people participated, with around 250 standing on either side of Marietta Street outside the Atlanta headquarters of CNN. <br /> <br /> A document handed out by organizers of the pro-Palestine group said the protest was scheduled as part of Al-Quds Day, a day of solidarity with Palestinians that Arabs traditionally observe on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Al-Quds is Arabic for Jerusalem. <br /> <br /> Demonstrators supporting the Palestinians chanted ``shame on you'' and held large banners that read ``End U.S. Funding for Israel's occupation of Palestine.'' <br /> <br /> Muhamed Abdulrahim of Atlanta stood on the Palestine side of the street and held a red rose as he joined the crowd chanting ``free Palestine.'' He said the event was intended to catch the attention of tourists and office workers passing on a warm summer afternoon. <br /> <br /> ``We cannot sit home and do nothing,'' Abdulrahim, 47, said. ``At least if we come here, people will see us and pay attention to what's happening in Gaza.'' <br /> <br /> Supporters of Israel held the country's blue and white flags and chanted ``no more human shields,'' a reference to Israel's contention that Palestinian leaders have intentionally placed civilians in harm's way. <br /> <br /> Elad Cohen, a 32-year-old native of Jerusalem who said he's lived in Atlanta for nine years, stood on the Israel side of the street. He wore a white T-shirt with the words ``ATL stands with Israel'' across his chest and said the counter-protest was organized by social media. Cohen said he has friends and a brother-in-law fighting as soldiers in Gaza and came to support them. <br /> <br /> ``You ask anyone here, they will say it's about those soldiers,'' he said. <br /> <br /> Atlanta police officers stood on the sidewalks behind the demonstrators while others directed pedestrian traffic around the large protests. No injuries or arrests were reported.
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