Vice President Harris calls for cease-fire in Gaza during speech at Bloody Sunday anniversary

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, front center, other participants walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge during an event marking the 57th anniversary of the 1965 Bloody Sunday civil rights march in Selma, Alabama, U.S., on Sunday, March 6, 2022.

Andi Rice | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris called for a cease-fire in Gaza Sunday while commemorating the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the day law enforcement officers attacked Civil Rights activists crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Harris gave an 18-minute speech at a gathering on the bridge to recognize the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. On March 7, 1965, officers beat 600 demonstrators with billy clubs and sprayed them with tear gas during a march across the bridge in support of voting rights.

Before honoring activists like Amelia Boynton and John Lewis, Harris acknowledged the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. 

Harris condemned Hamas while also calling on the Israeli government to increase assistance in Gaza. On Saturday, the United States military completed its first airdrop of humanitarian aid in Gaza after authorization from President Joe Biden last week.

Harris also acknowledged negotiations for a cease-fire in the region and said she and Biden are “unwavering in our commitment to Israel’s security.”

“Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate cease-fire for at least the next six weeks, which is currently on the table,” Harris said.

Echoing the remarks Biden made last week, Harris said the U.S. will continue providing aid to Gaza via airdrops and a potential route by sea.

“People in Gaza are starving, the conditions are inhumane and our common humanity compels us to act,” Harris said.

She also honored the work of Civil Rights activists and drew comparisons between their fight for freedom and modern threats to freedom, like gun violence and voting rights.

“The challenges we currently face are not unlike the challenges faced by those 600 brave souls 59 years ago,” Harris said.

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