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Protesters Rally for Gaza Conflict Cease-Fire; Disrupts California Opening Legislative Session

Over 1,000 demonstrators converged on the California State Capitol in Sacramento on January 3. They voiced their demand for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza conflict, chanting and singing to make their message heard.

Jennifer Esteen’s Speech

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Jennifer Esteen, a protester and candidate for Alameda County supervisor, spoke passionately to the crowd. She highlighted the sanctity of life and stressed that normal legislative processes cannot continue while lives are lost in the conflict.

Anticipation in the Capitol

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The protesters, all wearing face masks, filled the Capitol building as they awaited the opening of the gallery doors. They were there to attend the first Assembly session of the year, scheduled for 1 p.m., with a clear message for peace.

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A Display of Unity

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Upon entering the gallery, the diverse crowd revealed their coordinated effort. They removed outer layers to show matching black t-shirts with messages like “Jews say: not in our name” and “cease fire now.”

Chants for Peace

Credit: Protests supporting a ceasefire have taken place across Scotland in recent weeks | Alamy

A female organizer in the gallery led the protesters in a powerful chorus. They chanted and sang verses calling for an end to the war, echoing throughout the Capitol.

Banners of Protest

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Protesters unfurled large red and black banners demanding a cease-fire from the gallery balcony. As the volume of their chants grew, the banners served as a bold visual statement.

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Legislative Interruption

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Lawmakers made several attempts to bring the Assembly session to order amidst the protests. However, they eventually had to adjourn the session, making no mention of the ongoing demonstration.

Continued Demonstration

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The protesters did not relent even as legislators filed out of the room. They continued their songs and chants, determined to make their voices heard.

Persistence in the Dark

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An attempt to quell the protest by turning off the lights failed. Many protesters used flashlights on their phones, illuminating the room and continuing their demonstration.

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Lawmaker’s Concern

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Assemblyman James Gallagher, the Minority Leader, acknowledged the right to protest. However, he expressed concern, stating that the Legislature must be able to meet without such levels of disruption.

Rally in the Rotunda

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After the adjournment, protesters gathered in the Capitol rotunda. They spent several hours delivering speeches and chanting slogans like “free, free Palestine.”

Jewish Voice for Peace

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Liv Kunin-Berkowitz, the media coordinator for Jewish Voice for Peace, addressed the crowd during the protest. She emphasized the presence of hundreds of Jewish voices calling for an end to what they see as genocide.

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Stance Against Taxpayer Funding

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Protesters voiced their opinion against the use of California taxpayers’ money in foreign conflicts. Binya Kóatz, a protester, emphasized the importance of keeping tax dollars within the community.

Continued Protests and Background


Organizers announced their intention to continue protesting until the end of the war. The conflict, which intensified after an attack by Hamas terrorists on October 7, has led to significant casualties and global attention.

Widespread Protests and Political Response

Emrah Gurel/AP Photo

Since the outbreak of the conflict, protests have erupted across the United States. California Democrats faced a major protest in December, and Republicans are now considering a resolution condemning Hamas.

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