About 100 people turned out Saturday in Little Rock to protest violence in the Gaza Strip.
Yasmin Hamad, 27, of Little Rock organized the protest, held at the downtown farmers market, through a Facebook event and posted the information on the page of the Islamic Center of Little Rock, a mosque and community center located at 3224 Anna St. Members of the center as well as friends of the Muslim community arrived carrying signs with slogans against what they call Israeli aggression in Gaza.
Amir Qureshi, 41, of Little Rock said the protest was meant to be peaceful.
“We are showing support for the people getting killed in Gaza, mostly children,” Qureshi said.
Hamad, who is originally from Gaza, said her uncle and his family were killed two weeks ago in bombings there, and his two children are being cared for by her brother, who is finding it difficult to get the children medical attention.
“There is no food, no water,” Hamad said. “They got a shipment from Egypt last week, but it was all contaminated and spoiled.”
Shelley McCarty with the Little Rock Police Department said the group went into the River Market police station before beginning their demonstration and asked about the rules related to protesting in the area. McCarty and a second officer went to monitor the event and said the protesters could not march in groups larger than five or chant without a permit.
McCarty said the protesters would not be asked to disperse as long as they followed these regulations.
“They are not violating any guidelines, and are not disruptive to the rest of the River Market,” McCarty said.
Hamad said she hopes the protest will increase awareness of the problems facing the area and that people will donate to reliable organizations who can help families in Gaza.
“We want to be as peaceful as we can,” Hamad said. “We want people to be educated. The truth is, this is not an equal war.”
The protest began at noon and dispersed a little before 2 p.m. Hamad said she plans to organize another protest next weekend, this time with a permit.