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Protesters call on Tulsa congressman to support Gaza ceasefire

A group of protesters from Oklahomans Against Occupation protest along Lewis Avenue in Tulsa on Dec. 28, 2023.
Ben Abrams
A group of protesters from Oklahomans Against Occupation protest along Lewis Avenue in Tulsa on Dec. 28, 2023.

A group of protesters gathered outside the home of U.S. Representative Kevin Hern on Thursday to demand that Tulsa's congressman support a ceasefire in Gaza.

The protest along Lewis Avenue was organized by the group Oklahomans Against Occupation.

Emma Irving, 18, a student at Tulsa Community College, was part of the demonstration. She said the group is demanding "an immediate ceasefire" to Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza strip.

"They're sending Oklahoma's money to Israel," she said, "there are things that we can do with those funds here in Oklahoma, here in America, and we just feel like we're not first priority right now."

The U.S. government has given Israel billions of dollars in military aid for decades.

Irving said the group originally wanted to protest outside Hern’s First Congressional office in Tulsa, but it remains closed for the holiday break.

At least 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed during the conflict, the majority women and children.

Irving says words like “conflict” and “war” are not enough to describe what’s happening in Gaza.

"This isn’t a war," she said, "this is a genocide on the Palestinians."

Irving is among many activists who have called Israel’s actions in Gaza "genocide," with accusations of war crimes abundant.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called the humanitarian situation in Gaza a “nightmare.”

Concerns over Gazans facing illness and starvation due to the bombardment have been growing.

Israel expanded its military offensive in the strip, which is in response to the Hamas attack on October 7, when the militant group took many hostages and killed approximately 1,200 Israelis and foreigners, mostly civilians.

A recent investigation by The New York Times found evidence of widespread sexual violence committed by Hamas militants during the attack, corroborating earlier claims from the Israeli government.

Many journalists have been killed covering the bombardment of Gaza, with the organization Reporters Without Borders calling on international bodies to investigate.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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