Thursday, June 13, 2024

Somerville city councilor Willie Burnley Jr. speaks Sunday at a protest outside the Cambridge home of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Photo: Marc Levy)

A spate of protests calling for a cease-fire in Gaza arrived at the Cambridge home of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Sunday – two days after a similar protest was held at the Malden office of U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark and a day ahead of a cease-fire policy order being heard by Cambridge’s City Council.

Around 100 mostly youthful protesters gathered for a 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. sit-in at the senator’s home in Neighborhood 9, setting up camp and hearing speeches on a side street that stopped car traffic. Midway through the event, police passed by but did not station officers around the crowd to watch. (A cruiser was stationed at Warren’s home because of vandalism that had taken place at other officials’ homes, but not in response to what was a “very” peaceful protest, an officer said.)

Another protest Thursday blocked the BU bridge for more than two hours.

Speakers Sunday sometimes addressed Warren through a megaphone, turning to direct its sound toward the upper floors of the house, where Warren was thought to be inside.

Warren did not come out to address the crowd, and spokespeople did not respond immediately Sunday with a reaction to the event and its message: Many Democrats and constituents wanted her to act for a cease-fire in the Middle East, where Israel has been attacking Palestinians in retaliation for a violent incursion by the group Hamas on Oct. 7.

Some 1,200 Israelis died in the Hamas attack, and hundreds more were taken hostage. Palestinian deaths in Gaza since have been estimated at more than 12,000.

Among the speakers Sunday was Somerville city councilor Willie Burnley Jr., who said that by her silence, Warren has “shunned her base.”

With elections looming, what Democrats and progressives “do next year will be defined by her choices,” Burnley said.

“My soul won’t let me vote for genocidal Joe,” Burnley said, referring to President Joe Biden. “But Sen. Warren still has a chance.”

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday found U.S. support for Israel dropping since mid-October to 32 percent of respondents from 41 percent,

The policy order on Monday’s agenda is by city councillor Quinton Zondervan and is co-sponsored by Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. It calls for the council to support U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s call for a cease-fire and the deployment of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“All human life is precious, and the targeting of civilians is a violation of international humanitarian law,” the order says. It also “calls on everyone to respect the rights of freedom of speech and peaceful protest, and to not retaliate against anyone for expressing solidarity with the human rights of Palestinians or Israelis.”