It would have taken more than a breeze to cool down tensions in Albuquerque’s northeast heights Thursday afternoon at a demonstration about the conflict between Israel and Gaza in the middle east.
About fifty supporters of Palestinians in Gaza came out to denounce Israel’s recent military strikes. Serene Akkad, a Palestinian raised in Albuquerque, said she wants Americans to act. She’s trying to spread information "to increase awareness," Akkad said, "to get people to call their Congressman and tell them to stop sending our tax dollars to Israel. Because I don't want my tax dollars to be used to be killing my people back home."
As of Thursday, about 800 Palestinians and more than thirty Israelis have died in the latest wave of violence around Gaza.
About a dozen people were there to show their solidarity with Israel, waving flags and holding signs saying Israel has the right to defend its people. Folks from Yovel Ministries sang the Israeli national anthem.
The two groups did have one thing in common - they said they came out to make their voices heard, something they all seemed to feel wasn’t happening in media coverage of the conflict.
An Albuquerque man named Sebastian, who declined to give his last name, said the protest just made him uncomfortable.
"It feels like there has to be some way to turn back before they both destroy themselves," Sebastian said. "And, the way this kind of protest, it just... it makes the line between the two wider and wider." He said he wanted more information before weighing in on either side.