Thousands demand ceasefire in Gaza ahead of Biden-Xi meeting
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of San Francisco, calling for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, as the city prepares to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Both US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to attend the summit.
The gathering took place in the city's downtown on Tuesday evening, with crowds chanting “Genocidal Joe, he must go,” according to local media. Videos posted on social media also show a large crowd, chanting “Free Palestine” as well as “from the River to the Sea,” a political slogan calling for the unification of Palestinian territories at the expense of Israel. Many demonstrators were seen carrying Palestinian flags and beating drums.
According to the San Francisco Standard, some speakers who addressed the demonstrators urged the US – Israel’s key backer – to stop contributing billions of dollars in military aid and instead focusing on fighting poverty in America.
Several rallies have taken place in San Francisco in recent days, which, however, were devoted to a broader agenda, with participants carrying placards reading “Reject elites dictating our future” and “Shut down APEC.”
The APEC summit, an international forum that includes 21 nations and accounts for around 60% of global GDP, opened on Saturday and is scheduled to wrap up on Friday. Joe Biden and Xi Jinping have already arrived in the City by the Bay to attend the forum and hold much-anticipated talks on the event’s sidelines.
Ahead of Xi’s arrival, San Francisco airport saw a series of parallel demonstrations, with hundreds of Chinese nationals clashing with counter-protesters. While the latter camp rallied against China’s alleged crackdown on ethnic minorities, people in the former one said they wanted to welcome the Chinese leader to the summit.