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Demonstrators gather in downtown Orlando to protest Trump's Jerusalem decision

By Xander Peters, For Orlando Weekly , On 11 December 2017, Read Original
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As part of an international protest series called "Hands Off Jerusalem," demonstrators came together at Lake Eola this evening in reaction to the White House's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

President Trump's move on Dec. 6 backtracks on more than a half century of foreign policy, further angering allies while inflaming tensions throughout the region. Coupled with the move, Trump has also promised that the U.S. embassy will be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although a waiver has been signed that requires the embassy to remain in its current location for six months. 

About 60 individuals showed up to exercise their First Amendment right at the protest, and the crowd seemed to grow slightly as the afternoon faded into night. 

Pro-Palestine protesters wore the Palestinian flag around their necks in a show of support. A Palestinian flag waved over the crowd. 

Vasen Yunis, one of the demonstrators in attendance, came out to show his support for his fellow Palestinians. Yunis has lived in the U.S. for his entire life. He comes from a Palestinian-American background. 


"Palestinians are everywhere because of Israel's occupation in that region, and, you know, there's Palestinians all over the United States and all over the world," Yunis says. "We're not only against this; the whole international community's against this." 

When asked about how Trump's decision reflects on the administration, Yunis laughs and says, "I'm not surprised." 

Earlier today, by phone, Rasha Mubarak, Orlando's regional coordinator for the Council on American Islamic Relations of Florida, told Orlando Weekly, "This isn't a Muslim issue; this isn't a Christian issue; this isn't a Jewish issue. This is about humanity."  

She continued: "You know that peace process, that small concept of a peace process when it comes to Palestine and Israel? Well, that's completely gone, that's compromised. So there's just so much at stake, and now the whole world is outraged." 

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