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Palestinian rally in downtown Orlando brings together hundreds

Rasha Mubarak, an organizer with the Florida Palestine Network.
Joe Mario Pedersen
90.7 WMFE News
Rasha Mubarak, an organizer with the Florida Palestine Network, leads a march of several hundred Palestine supporters through the heart of Downtown Orlando.

Maram Al Dada was on his way to Lake Eola to protest the Israel-Hamas war when he received a message informing him that a missile had hit near his family's Gaza home.

Al Dada says that while no one was hurt and the damage was minimal, he couldn't shake the fear.

"I'm still shaking thinking about it," he said.

Florida Palestine Network rally and march through Orlando
Joe Mario Pedersen
90.7 WMFE News
A man stands in front of hundreds of protesters outside of Orlando's City Hall, holding a Palestine flag during a march for those living in Gaza. The protesters were with the Florida Palestine Network and marched through city as well as around Lake Eola Park.

He took that fear and channeled it in front of hundreds of human rights advocates and those with Palestinian lineage Saturday afternoon at the Lake Eola amphitheater during a rally for Palestine. Supporters marched through the park and Downtown Orlando to City Hall in support of freeing those living in Gaza from the violence of the Israel-Hamas war.

"I would like people to educate themselves about what's happening," said Al Dada, an organizer with the Florida Palestine Network, which hosted the event. "People have been suffering, unable to see their families, like myself, for 20 years now."

Leading the march through the heart of Orlando was Rasha Mubarak, an organizer with the FPN. Murbarak said the march had two goals: to spread the message of Palestine's 75-year-old history of violence under Israel and to call on politicians to end U.S. aid to Israel.

The Florida Palestine Network rally and march
Joe Mario Pedersen
90.7 WMFE News
Hundreds of protesters march on Orlando's City Hall Saturday showing their support for Palestine and those living in Gaza. The protesters first marched around Lake Eola Park and then took to the streets through Downtown Orlando.

"We have the masses of people who are standing with the people of Palestine. They are standing for human rights for all," she said. "The Israeli aggression needs to end. The occupation (under Israel) needs to end. The siege needs to end."

Israel is soon expected to begin a ground assault in Gaza City. Last Saturday, Hamas militants attacked Israel killing more than 1300 people. In response, it's estimated that Israel has killed more than 2200 people in Gaza.

Corrected: October 14, 2023 at 10:39 PM EDT
A previous version of this story contained a misspelling. It should have read "Al Dada."
Originally from South Florida, Joe Mario came to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida where he graduated with degrees in Radio & Television Production, Film, and Psychology. He worked several beats and covered multimedia at The Villages Daily Sun but returned to the City Beautiful as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel where he covered crime, hurricanes, and viral news. Joe Mario has too many interests and not enough time but tries to focus on his love for strange stories in comic books and horror movies. When he's not writing he loves to run in his spare time.
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