LA Demonstrators Clash Over Renewed Middle East Violence

Police had to separate groups who were blocking traffic on Wilshire on Sunday

By Ted Chen and Jason Kandel
|  Monday, Nov 19, 2012  |  Updated 7:10 AM PDT
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David Siegel, Consul General of Israel, joined Ted Chen on Today in LA to talk about a possible ceasefire and more.

David Siegel, Consul General of Israel, joined Ted Chen on Today in LA to talk about a possible ceasefire and more.

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Police in riot gear quelled scuffling between pro-Israel and pro-Muslim demonstrators on Sunday outside the Federal Building during a protest over renewed violence in the Middle East.

About 40 officers stood on the south side of Wilshire where protesters blocked traffic at Veteran Avenue as hundreds of demonstrators waved Israeli and American flags on one side of the street and a smaller number of pro-Palestinian demonstrators stood on the other.

“My family is over there. They have to sit in shelters. And they’re very stressed out, but unfortunately the world doesn’t realize this is a day to day reality, “said Noa Tishby, the founder of Act for Israel, a non-profit group representing Israel’s interests through the use of new media.

The demonstrations were held in response to renewed violence as Israel launched rockets on Gaza in response to attacks by Hamas on Israel.

The Hamas attacks were in retaliation for the assassination of a top Hamas military leader.

“Palestinians are struggling for liberation,” said Sophia Azeb, of the group Palestinian Women of Southern California. “They’re struggling for equality. They’re struggling for their basic human rights, which are being violated again and again. ”

At one point during Sunday’s protest, police were prompted to go into tactical alert, the Los Angeles Police Department said. A freeway offramp on the northbound San Diego Freeway at Wilshire was temporarily closed.

Sunday’s demonstration was the latest to take place in Los Angeles.

Demonstrators sympathetic to both sides of the conflict gathered Thursday night near the Israeli Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard.

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