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Israeli Military Protest in NYC

April 6, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Thousands of demonstrators, chanting ``Free Palestine″ and ``Down with Israel,″ rallied in Times Square on Friday to protest Israeli military action in the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy.

Protesters marched along Broadway carrying Palestinian flags. Others displayed Israeli flags with swastikas drawn on them.

``Today, we are all Palestinians,″ shouted Larry Holmes, a member of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, or ANSWER coalition.

There were few confrontations and no arrests were reported.

At several rallies in northern New Jersey, protesters chanted and carried signs with slogans like ``Stop the Massacre″ and ``Stop Killing Our Children.″

Calling on President Bush to intervene and end the bloodshed, about 400 protesters outside a federal building in Paterson, N.J., compared Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Adolf Hitler.

Still, Nabil Abassi, president of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, said: ``Our intention today is to promote peace _ a peace which is based on justice and equality.″

Ferne Hassan of the American Jewish Committee in Milburn, N.J., approached reporters at the Paterson rally to defend Israel.

``These are the children who are going to have to carry out whatever agreements are negotiated today,″ she said, referring to the youngest protesters. ``In order for there to be peace, the message has to filter down to children. There has to be a culture of peace, not a culture of hate.″

Several hundred Muslims and Jews faced off at a rally in Teaneck, N.J., but the protests were peaceful, police said. In Jersey City, N.J., about 300 people gathered at Journal Square.

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