A large group of protesters took to the streets of downtown Minneapolis Wednesday evening to demand that President Joe Biden call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
The President, who visited a farm in Northfield as the first destination of his tour touting investment in rural communities, drew the criticism of protesters who gathered outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. The group numbered at least several hundred.
Protesters marched north toward the newly opened Third Avenue Bridge, which police had blocked off. The crowd then marched west and down Hennepin Avenue before looping back to the plaza of the federal courthouse.
Police blocked off multiple intersections as protesters made their rounds.
Some drivers honked their horns or held their fists out the window as a sign of support as they passed the protesters. Downtown residents opened their windows and stood on their balconies watching the crowd pass by.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, spoke to protesters outside the federal courthouse.
Jaylani pleaded with protestors to let their elected officials know by any means possible how they feel about the Israeli military’s bombing of Gaza, which has killed thousands of civilians, in its attempts to fight Hamas. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported Wednesday that more than 8,800 Palestinians have been killed in the war, mostly women and minors, and that more than 22,000 people have been wounded.
“Show up to their offices,” Jaylani said. “Show up to all of their offices, morning, evening, and sunset. Let them know that you stand for the children of Gaza.”
Jaylani expressed his displeasure with Biden for ignoring what he called ”a humanitarian crisis.”
“There’s a lot of democrats here,” Jaylani said. “Most of us are probably Democrats. I stand for a democracy that is principled. I stand for a democracy that understands the value of human life. And when we have a president who rejects human life, that is not my president.”
Jaylani, alongside about a dozen Muslim community leaders holding signs that read “abandon Biden,” spoke outside the federal courthouse Wednesday morning to announce that they would not be voting to reelect the President.
Ward 13 city council candidate Zach Mentzger said he was pleased with the number of people he saw at the demonstration.
“The turnout is amazing; it’s been consistent,” Mentzger said. “We’ve got thousands, and thousands coming out each time that we show up, not only here in Minneapolis or in the United States, but all over the world. So people are showing up and showing out.”
Protesters also demonstrated earlier in the day at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and at Biden’s Northfield event.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.