Updated as of 1:26 p.m. on March 4 to include more photos from the event.

Millions gather around the world in solidarity for protesting the Israel-Hamas War as action toward International Day of Action on March 2. The day marks one week before Israel's threatened attacks on Gaza’s city of Rafah, where many displaced citizens have gathered.

The Asheville protest took place at 2 p.m., while Charlotte and Raleigh started at 3 p.m. According to organizers, Raleigh had close to 2000 protesters. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to attack the last Palestinian-regulated area in Gaza by the start of Ramadan, the evening of March 10, due to Israeli citizens being held in that area. 

Protesters started with 10 minutes of chanting on Moore Square’s lawn. The chants had messages about the political climate in the U.S., as well as Yemen’s support for Gaza and Palestine. The North Carolina Party for Socialism and Liberation organized the peaceful protest with police escorting and blocking off the perimeters of Moore Square and Nash Square. 

68-year-old protestor Patrick O’Neill has been an activist for human rights since his early 20’s, spending more than three years in prison for nonviolent anti-war protests. He hopes the Day of Action serves as a “global condemnation” of Israel’s “slaughter” of Palestinian citizens. 

“People, children, women, I just think that the slaughter has to end,” O’Neill said. “There’s a very good chance that President Biden's complete and total support for Israel may be his downfall. He may not win this year.”

Protestors started marching at 3:45 p.m., yelling chants like “resistance is justified when people are occupied” and “red, black, green, white for Palestine we will fight.” The group spread to sidewalks as it became larger. Supporters from restaurants and apartment balconies on Martin Street cheered on the protesters as they progressed through the city.

Ethan Wu | Elon News Network

Protesters chanted together in objection to the tragedies of the Israeli-Palestine war as they marched down the city center of Raleigh on March 2.

Elon freshman and protester Eden Perry-Benton said there is an uncomfortableness to speak on the war both on campus and within society, which she believes needs to be changed.

“People are scared, they’re not educated,” Perry-Benton said. “So let’s bring the education out, right? Let’s bring it to people. I think that’s something we can definitely do more.”

Activists Mickey Brigham and Zan Brigham have participated in a number of protests since the war started. Zan brought a drum to create noise and power for the protest, something he's seen demonstrators do in the past. Mickey said “nobody wants to be here” but said they believe that policing and housing in the states has a connection to the status in Gaza.

Socialist Revolution member Harper Houston said the U.S. is "a little too late" at providing aid to Palestine. She said she stands with the Palestinian people to have their land after the attacks that have displaced citizens.

"There is global solidarity that we're in this together," Houston said. "No struggle is its own. And we need to stand against oppression anywhere. It starts at home and it goes abroad.”

The protest ended back on the lawn at Moore Square at 4:38 p.m., with families enjoying the spring-like day in the city. Four protestors practiced the Muslim Maghrib prayer close together on the east side of the park.

The Elon community has gathered multiple times to support Jewish students on Elon University's campus because of the widespread effects of the conflict. Discussions about the war in general have been offered to participants since the attack on Oct. 7. 

Elon senior and protester Lauren Hill said a group of students on campus are trying to form small group discussions to open conversation about the war. In the fall, Hill did a chalk drawing of an olive tree advocating for Palestinian farmers that said “to exist is to resist” within Global neighborhood — which received backlash. 

“That was really hard, to feel these people that I love and support and trust, to hear they are not supportive of me speaking out regardless of how they feel about genocide,” Hill said. 

Protests were held in 116 cities worldwide, according to international organizers Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. Raleigh is backed by 11 organizations, including the NC Green Party.

“With growing internal divisions and heightened political pressure on Israel and the United States, it’s time to push even harder,” ANSWER Coalition said in a statement released on Feb. 20. “Our mobilizations in this moment can be more decisive than ever, and we must show our full strength now to ensure a lasting ceasefire and an end to the siege on Gaza.”

The Associated Press reported on Feb. 27 that the U.S. Senate approved a bill that provides $95.3 billion to Ukraine, Israel and Gaza. Israel will receive $14.1 billion for military and civilian aid, while $9.2 billion will be given to citizens in Gaza for food, water, shelter and medical care. 

“I'm confident in the people's power to make change, and especially with the youth,” protest organizer for NC Party for Socialism and Liberation Victor Urquiza said. “The youth right now are becoming more radical, more revolutionary, and it's so powerful and so inspiring.”