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Pro-Palestinian group holds protest at City of Miami Tree-lighting Ceremony

Pro-Palestinian group holds protest at City of Miami Tree-lighting Ceremony
Pro-Palestinian group holds protest at City of Miami Tree-lighting Ceremony 02:02

MIAMI - A planned silent protest erupted with chants at the City of Miami's Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.  The group wanted attention on Palestinians dying in Gaza because of war between Israel and Hamas. However, after the ceremony outside city hall Thursday night, some protestors wanted more.

"The message over here is we're in support of the Christian Palestinians," Tony Ibrahim, a protestor said.

Two dozen people planned to share that message with signs and by waving Palestinian flags at the tree lighting ceremony.  They did not expect to speak.  That changed after Mayor Francis Suarez took the stage.  Ibrahim, who said he's lost 17 loved ones in the war, felt slighted.  Others did too.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators held a protest at the Tree-lighting Ceremony in the City of Miami on Thursday evening.   CBS News Miami

"We're here peacefully because we just want to bring attention," he said.  "We don't want to hurt anyone.  We're here to bring peace and then (police were) like, no you guys have to move."

Police prepared an area for protestors behind the stage.  Organizers expected the group to stand there.  When the protestors chose another, more visible spot heads turned.  Officers dragged barricades in front of the protest.  A row of police motorcycles parked between the protest and the ceremony too. 

"Our motor(cycles) were part of the parade and we just coincidently situated them there," Captain Freddie Cruz of the Miami Police Department said.  "Again, we're just here for everyone's safety."

Police reported no disturbances or problems.  Still, protestors left wanting more attention on issues close to their heart.

"What's happening is very unfortunate and it's very saddening," Ibrahim said.  "We want (Mayor) Francis Suarez to maybe give a statement and even if he won't necessarily agree with Palestinians or whatever we want him to respect the people who have died and we want him to bring attention to what's happening on both sides because you know it's unfortunate people are dying on either side."

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