A video shared on social media shows a vehicle driving through a large crowd at a rally in support of Palestinians in Gaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Shortly after 3:20 p.m. on Sunday, Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers responded to multiple reports of disturbances related to a demonstration near the city’s Loring Park neighborhood, MPD spokesman Aaron Rose said Newsweek in an email.
“Several witnesses reported a vehicle driving through the crowd and a caller reported the sound of a gunshot,” Rose said. “At this time, there are no reports of injuries related to the demonstration and no casualties have come forward.”
The MPD is currently conducting further investigation into this incident, Rose said, adding that there have been no arrests as of Sunday evening. Rose said he could not confirm at the time of publication whether the street where the incident occurred was closed during the protest.
About 5,000 people gathered in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon to demand an end to the “Israeli bombing of Gaza,” according to a joint statement from rally organizers, the Minnesota Anti-War Committee, the national chapter of American Muslims for Palestine and the Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Minnesota.
At the intersection of Hennepin and Lyndale Avenues and Vineland Place, a group of rally participants staged a “die-in,” a form of protest in which participants lie publicly as if dead to demonstrate the “severity of ethnic cleansing.” happened in the Gaza Strip,” the organizers said, noting that chaos had broken out here.
“A hostile driver threatened protesters with his car and a box cutter,” the statement said. “He was disarmed by the protest guard but then drove through the crowd.”
A video shared on social media shows a white vehicle driving into the crowd before the driver appears to get out and briefly engage with people nearby, according to drone footage and ground audio recorded by non-profit media organization Unicorn Riot, which has built an online following for his livestream coverage of the protests that erupted following the police killing of George Floyd.
As the driver gets back into the vehicle, the crowd begins to surround the car before the driver reverses and speeds away, the drone footage shows. In the three-minute clip that Unicorn Riot performs
“Minneapolis – At approximately 1:45 p.m., as pro-Palestinian protesters held a ‘die-in’ in Lyndale/Hennepin, a suspected counter-protester drove into the crowd, possibly firing a gun or firecracker as he drove away. Our drone footage paired with… / Audio from the ground shows the incident,” Unicorn Riot said in the X post Sunday evening together.
After the altercation, the crowd continued to protest and the rally ended with a prayer, event organizers said in the statement.
“The aim of the protest was to show the level of support in the Twin Cities for Palestinians in Gaza who are struggling to survive after the Israeli government cut off electricity and water to the 2 million people in the Gaza Strip. The protest called for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the siege on Gaza and immediate humanitarian assistance to Gaza,” protest organizers said in a statement Newsweek.
During the protest, participants hung Palestinian flags and banners with pro-Palestinian messages on the pedestrian bridge over Interstate 94 that connects the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to Loring Park, including: “Remove Minnesota from Apartheid Israel.”
The protest in Minneapolis came as Israel announced it would step up its attacks on the Gaza Strip and that it was continuing to prepare for a ground attack. Two weeks of fighting broke out Saturday between Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters and Israeli forces, following surprise attacks on Israel on October 7
According to the Associated Press, the Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip announced Sunday that 4,300 Palestinians were killed in Israeli actions, including the disputed death toll from a hospital explosion. According to Israel, more than 1,400 Israelis were killed and at least 212 others were taken hostage.
According to organizers, Sunday’s protest was the fourth large-scale protest in Minnesota since October 9th. The next protest will be on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in front of U.S. Rep. Betty McCullom’s office.
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