Ceasefire car rally shuts it down

SLL photos: Cheryl LaBash

Detroit – Today’s amazing Dec. 25 Hamtramck-Detroit-Dearborn Shut it Down for Palestine caravan was sparked by a simple graphic shared on social media, spread by word of mouth. There was no organization calling it, no supporting organizational logos.

Cars gathered at a parking lot in Hamtramck, a small historically migrant town within Detroit – formerly Polish and Eastern European but now mostly Muslim Bangladeshi and Yemeni. Flags, large and small, hand-lettered signs decorated cars, stretched across car hoods and poked out of retracted moon roofs.

How many cars? How many does it take to shut down a four-lane interstate freeway, get out of cars, and shoot off red smoke flares? Although I was in the middle of the line of cars, the action and smoke were about a quarter mile ahead. In downtown Detroit, police couldn’t keep the caravan from circling Campus Martius park, dubbed “Detroit’s meeting place,” drawing thumbs up and victory signs from pedestrians.

Then down Michigan Avenue to stop traffic again, this time at the Greenfield Road underpass, honking horns and then finally clogging West Dearborn business and residential areas. 

This Instagram post sums it up: “Hundreds showed up today for Palestine. The first and biggest car rally in Michigan. Let’s not forget what we are doing this for … this is for showing all the people in the USA how powerful we are when we unite as one and give us what we demand: Permanent ceasefire!” 

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