Dallas, TX – Residents of Dallas gathered at NorthPark Mall on Black Friday, November 24, as at least 200 community members showed up for three simultaneous actions for Palestine, including a die-in inside the mall, a banner-drop off of Highway 75, and a picket outside of the main entrance to the mall.
Organizers handed out flyers and held signs to spread awareness of both the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, as well as flyers promoting an online petition calling on the Dallas City Council to pass a resolution condemning the occupation and genocide in Palestine, and demanding direct U.S. humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine.
Nashwa Abdelwahed, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement, said, “We are out here protesting at NorthPark Mall because we declare that business as usual cannot go on during a genocide. Black Friday is the busiest shopping holiday of the year and is a way for the U.S. to gauge the economic health of the country. We are heeding the international call to disrupt that by protesting one of Dallas’ main malls on Black Friday.”
Inside the busy mall, around 20 demonstrators laid down to perform a die-in as two people more unfurled a banner reading “Stand with Palestinian people’s resistance! Stop U.S. funding of Israeli apartheid!” The demonstrators chanted “Free Palestine!” “While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping!” and “Not another penny, not another dollar! No more money for Israel’s slaughter!”
One observer, Xavi Velasquez, said, “I’d never seen an actual die-in before, it was powerful. Seeing the crowd’s reaction to it, you could tell the reaction varied widely, some people started joining in with the chants, some were upset. The varying reaction made me feel that the message was getting across.”
The die-in lasted around ten minutes before a representative of the mall told the police to “wrap it up” and around 25 or 30 police officers came to kick the demonstrators out of the building. The police moved them towards one exit before surrounding, or “kettling” them between two large groups of police, who then physically pushed the demonstrators towards another exit.
Scores of police patrolled the outside of the mall, including a dozen horse-mounted officers, bicycle patrols, snipers on the roof, and dozens of police vehicles, including a mass-arrest van. Despite the massive and aggressive show of police force, hundreds of demonstrators carried on with a picket outside the main entrance to the mall and a banner drop over the busy U.S. Highway 75 that connects North and South Dallas. The large banner over the highway read “Full ceasefire now! No more U.S. tax $$$ to fund genocide! Free Palestine!” with enormous Palestinian flags hanging next to the banner and on the other side of the highway.
At the picket line outside the mall, huge banners read “U.S.A Stop funding Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing.” Another read, “Israel drops bombs, Biden pays for it, Dallas city council supports it. We won’t vote for genocide supporters,” referring to the Dallas City Council’s recent unanimous resolution passed on October 11 of “unequivocal support for Israel” despite massive public outcry. The crowd chanted calling for a free Palestine and many people who were stuck in the bumper-to-bumper mall traffic took flyers about the BDS campaign and the petition for a Dallas City Council resolution in support of Palestine.
The rally was cosponsored by Palestinian Youth Movement, Dallas Anti-War Committee, Free Palestine Tarrant, FRSO Dallas, the Democratic Socialists of America North Texas, Party for Socialism and Liberation Dallas, UT Dallas Students for Justice in Palestine, the Progressive Student Union at UTA, La Frontera Nos Cruzó, and NAARPR Dallas.
Despite the enormous and violent show of police force, no arrests were made. The public response was overwhelmingly supportive of Palestine.
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