Protesters greet Biden with pro-Palestine chants on Thanksgiving break

Protesters greet Biden with pro-Palestine chants on Thanksgiving break
Pro-Palestine protesters chanted at the US president while he walked to lunch and when he attended a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on Friday in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
2 min read
26 November, 2023
Biden's Thanksgiving getaway was punctuated by pro-Palestine protests [Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty]

Pro-Palestine protesters twice interrupted proceedings during US President Joe Biden’s Thanksgiving trip to Nantucket.

While walking with his wife Jill from their hotel to lunch on Friday, there were shouts of "Free Palestine" from a small group of protesters.

Later that day, as the Bidens attended a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on the Massachusetts island, demonstrators leaning against metal barricades held up banners that read 'Free Palestine' and 'End Genocide'.

"Biden, Biden, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide!", the protesters chanted.

It was not clear if Biden had heard the chants or seen the demonstrators at the tree-lighting ceremony. They were at some distance from the president, who looked unfazed as he greeted members of a children’s choir while the chants rang.

A local official told the chanting protesters: "Excuse me, this is a community tree-lighting event. We respect your right to free speech, but… this is not a political event. This is a community event, not a political event."

The protests came as the Biden administration continues to assert its die-hard support for Israel, whose air and ground assault on Gaza that began on 7 October has killed almost 15,000 people in the Palestinian territory.

The US continues to provide Israel with military support, and earlier this month approved billions of dollars in aid for the country.

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Hundreds of thousands of people in the US have taken to streets to call for a long-term ceasefire for Gaza since 7 October.

More disruptive acts of protest have also been carried out.

Protesters have blocked ships allegedly carrying weapons bound for Israel from leaving US ports, and a group of hundreds of Jewish protesters staged a sit-down protest at Capitol Hill last month.

Pro-Palestine voices have also interrupted pro-Israel senators while they have been off duty. 

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren was interrupted at dinner in Cambridge, Massachusetts earlier this month by a Palestinian woman who had lost dozens of family members in Israeli bombings since 7 October.

"How many more of my family has to die for you to call for a ceasefire?", the woman asked, before being moved away.