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Middle East violence charges rallies in California

The Associated Press
Monday April 08, 2002

LOS ANGELES — Escalating violence in the Middle East over the weekend spurred heated demonstrations throughout the state and across the country Sunday afternoon, with protesters screaming chants, torching flags and even scuffling over their beliefs. 

Some 2,000 demonstrators waved signs and chanted “Arafat’s a Terrorist!” at a raucous pro-Israel demonstration outside the federal building in west Los Angeles. 

At one point pro-Palestine counter-demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags tussled with demonstrators, but police said there were no reports of major disturbances. 

In San Francisco, close to 500 pro-Palestine demonstrators took to the streets near San Francisco State University for several hours, yelling chants, burning paper Israeli flags and even grabbing an Israeli flag out of the hands of a passing motorist who lofted it from her sunroof. 

“Sharon, Sharon you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!” they screamed to a chorus of honks and beeps from passing cars. One Israel supporter carrying the country’s flag charged the crowd, prompting police to break up a brief scuffle that followed.