SAN MARCOS — Chants for a free Palestine echoed down Twin Oaks Valley Road as activists came together during the fall break.
The demonstration, which took place on Nov. 19, was put together by MiraCosta College’s MEChA club and northcounty4palestine to offer their support for Palestine. MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Activismo/Chicanx student movement for activism) had planned the demonstration since Oct. 7.
“We immediately posted a statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people for their liberation. Since then, we’ve been sharing information about protests, myths versus facts about the situation, and hosted film screenings,” Endrei Padilla said.
Padilla is a member of Mira Costa’s MEChA club and acted as a spokesperson for the demonstration. Padilla was passionate about raising awareness for the justice of all oppressed people.
“We’ve been building the momentum for activism over the semester, and now we helped organize this protest,” Padilla said.
The demonstration began at 1 p.m. at North Twin Oaks Valley Road and West San Marcos Blvd. At the start, those leading the demonstration explained the plan for the event, what to do if they met any hostile counter-protestors, and who to speak with if they needed help. Afterward, the leaders took the microphone to talk about the Palestine-Israel conflict before starting chants to get the crowd of approximately 150 attendees ready for the march.
The march moved west down Twin Oaks Valley Roads until the group reached Craven Road, where they crossed the street and returned to the meetup point. During the demonstration, there were many honks and cheers from people driving by and showing their support, but there were also shouts from those against the protest.
On the corner of Twin Oaks Valley Road and Discovery Street was a counter-demonstration where individuals supported Israel.
“We are here in support of Israel. We are pro-Israeli. We believe that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and is the king of Israel… We do not agree with what’s going on in Israel right now, how they were attacked, and Israel had the right to defend itself,” Alfredo Tienda said.
Tienda is a pastor from Vista who spoke on behalf of the group.
“We believe in Israel, we believe in God of Israel. And we believe that to support Israel is fantastic. And also to have the support of the people of the congregation of the churches is very satisfying,” Tienda said.
Tienda and his group also expressed that they do not hate Palestinians and that any death of innocent lives is a tragedy, no matter what they believe in or where they live.
The Palestine-Israel conflict was brought back to mass public view on Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked Israel. 1,200 Israelis were killed in the attack, most being civilians, and 248 were taken hostage. Shortly after the attack, the Israeli Air Force began their counterattack, resulting in a growing number of Palestinian deaths.
As of Dec. 1, over 15,000 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza, with 70% of the deaths being women and children. This growing number has led to many activists calling for a ceasefire.
According to a recent poll from The Economist/YouGov, 65% of US adult citizens support a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine. Still, only a few senators and congress members have expressed the call for a ceasefire. President Biden has continued to voice his support for Israel and continues to send them financial aid.
Israel and Hamas agreed to a temporary ceasefire and hostage exchange, which occurred from Nov. 24 to Nov. 30. However, many activists do not believe that was enough.
Padilla encouraged people to contact their representatives when discussing the disconnect between citizens and politicians.
“At MEChA, we believe that both the Democratic and Republican Party do not have our best interests in mind; they just go about it differently to hide their true intentions… The agenda of the United States doesn’t change by which party is in power,” he said. “We still tell people to call their representative and let them know that we want a ceasefire and that we do not support this.”
Corrections, Dec. 6, 11:44 a.m. – A previous version of this story misspelled MircaCosta College as “Mira Costa College”