Fresno protesters clash over Palestine-Israel conflict
Pro-Israel supporters, along with a few alternative right-wing agitators, gathered Thursday evening to protest the pro-Palestine protests that have continued near River Park since the weekend.
With pro-Palestinian supporters on one side of Blackstone Avenue near Nees Avenue and pro-Israel supporters on the other side of the busy Fresno intersection, words were often exchanged between the two groups. in traffic.
The two groups clashed closely at one point after pro-Palestinian protesters walked through Blackstone to wave their Palestinian flags while standing over the large letters in River Park.
A few pro-Israel defenders responded by furiously waving their Israeli flags before pro-Palestinian protesters returned to the other side of Blackstone amid a growing police presence.
Fresno Police had been on the scene from the start monitoring the situation, and it emerged that more officers arrived during the close interaction between the two groups.
No physical altercation was reported.
“Tonight we had a situation that could have gotten ugly,” said Fresno Police Captain Tom Rowe. “Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed.
“There were a few flare-ups at different times when groups crossed the street. The officers were quick to separate the groups, with the help of members of each of these groups. It has been very helpful.
Traffic had to be diverted momentarily due to people on the street near the Blackstone and Nees intersection.
But it finally resumed and passing cars often honked their horns.
Although there was no physical violence, Thursday’s protests were not really peaceful.
Insults were often exchanged between the two groups.
Among the sneaky comments that were made was a local agitator known to the right, calling Palestinian supporters “terrorists,” who was captured on his own live stream on social media.
Some Palestine supporters later referred to the man as a “Nazi,” which was also captured on the man’s live wire.
But for some present, the demonstration did not consist in hurling insults or confronting the opposing demonstration, but in making their voices heard publicly on the Palestine-Israel conflict.
“I think it’s important to show that we stand in solidarity with Israel,” said Dennis McCourt. “There has been a lot of repression against Israel and hatred on the left, let’s face it. Anti-Semitism, in reality, is what it is about.
“And this anti-Semitism must be fought. We love Palestinians, we love Jews, we love Muslims. It’s just about recognizing what’s best for the Middle East, and we know Israel is our greatest ally there.
Reza Nekumanesh, executive director of the Fresno Islamic Cultural Center, said pro-Palestine rallies continue to raise awareness and ultimately for the United States to act on their behalf.
“The point is to bring the people together and then leave with a plan to contact their members of Congress and the women (of Congress) to do something more,” Nekumanesh said. “It’s about raising awareness, but we really need to change the policy.”
In previous protests in Palestine in Fresno, which took place without a pro-Israel protest nearby, tensions continued to rise and people were sprayed with pepper.
On Tuesday, a man engaged in a heated debate with a Palestinian supporter, then claimed he had been sprayed with pepper.
This incident was preceded by three Palestinian supporters who were in a vehicle being pepper sprayed by a 62-year-old man in a car.
The assault was captured on video and in photos, leading to alleged pepper sprayer Brian Lee Turner being arrested and now facing hate crime charges.
The recent wave of protests in Fresno, as well as in several other cities in the United States, is a result of rising violence in the Middle East.
A senior Palestinian diplomat accused Israel of attempting to commit “genocide” against Palestinian families because of the recent airstrikes.
Israel, meanwhile, claimed it acted in self-defense.
The United States has long supported Israel and made a commitment in 2016 a $ 38 billion military aid program to his ally in the Middle East.