FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Members of the Arkansas Anti-War Alliance and NWA Palestine held a cease-fire protest Saturday morning, sharing their perspectives on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“We’re calling for an immediate cease-fire and a stop to the bombing of Gaza, and that we’re calling for justice for Palestinians, which means we want an end to the apartheid and the occupation and the genocidal bombings,” Abel Tomlinson, founder of Arkansas Antiwar Alliance, said.
Protesters were holding signs and Palestinian flags, asking for peace in the region, and many cars passing the protests honked in solidarity.
The protestors marched from the Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville to the University of Arkansas Student Union Mall where they heard from speakers sharing poetry, information, and their personal connections to Palestine.
Amanda Arafat was one of the speakers and protestors.
“I’ve been Palestinian for 29 years and have never been able to fill a room with people aware of my people and the Israeli occupation of my homeland before, let alone a march,” Arafat said.
Arafat was born in Gaza and has lived between the United States and the Middle East.
She says identifying as Palestinian is typically isolating, but at the protest, things were different.
“I don’t have to ask them or beg them to also believe in a free life for my people and my family. So it’s really humbling and I’m very grateful,” Arafat said.
She still has family in Palestine and she hopes protestors will not give up hope.
“So they can keep showing solidarity and keep demanding a free Palestine and a cease-fire,” Arafat said.
Tomlinson says they are planning more protests.