Student-led march stops outside Angus King's Brunswick home to demand Gaza ceasefire
A demonstration led by Bowdoin students marched outside the Brunswick home of U.S. Sen. Angus King on Saturday, demanding a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
The rally was organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, a student group at Bowdoin College. Demonstrators demanded that King and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins publicly oppose both Israel's ongoing military action in the Gaza Strip, and the further funding of the Israeli military by the U.S. government.
"Innocent people are being killed at a rate that we have not seen before," said Eisa Rafat, a co-leader of Students for Justice in Palestine at Bowdoin. "These are not just Hamas militants. These are innocent children, women, and men. A ceasefire doesn't mean a stoppage of fighting on one side — a ceasefire is a complete stoppage of that violence."
Over 250 demonstrators took part in the march, including students from Bates and other colleges, along with local Brunswick community members.
After giving remarks outside the Bowdoin College Art Museum, student-organizers led the group off campus and marched through the streets of downtown Brunswick. The demonstrators stopped outside King's home, leaving banners on the doorstep bearing the names of Palestinian citizens killed in the conflict thus far.
"I'm Jewish, and obviously antisemitism is a concern for me," said Rachel, another co-leader for the SJP at Bowdoin. She declined give her last name for fear of harassment for participating in the march. "[Antisemitism] is not something I take lightly, and obviously [SJP would] never use that [rhetoric]. At the same time, I think we can hold in our minds that anti-Zionism isn't necessarily antisemitism.
"When you have a country that is committing a genocidal offensive against a group of people, we are absolutely going to oppose what Israel is doing to Palestine," she said.
A week earlier, SJP published a letter in The Bowdoin Orient demanding action from King and Collins. The letter has over 1,500 signatories, per the SJP, with 55% being permanent Maine residents. Seven hundred of the signatures came from college students at over 15 colleges and universities across Maine.