Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Protesters greet White House correspondents’ dinner guests

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Washington, April 28: An election-year roast of President Joe Biden before journalists, celebrities and politicians at the annual White House correspondents’ dinner Saturday butted up against growing public discord over the Israel-Hamas war, with large protests outside the event condemning both Biden’s handling of the conflict and the Western news’ media coverage of it.
In previous years, Biden, like most of his predecessors, has used the glitzy annual White House Correspondents’ Association gala to needle media coverage of his administration and jab at political rivals, notably Republican rival Donald Trump.
With hundreds of protesters rallying against the war in Gaza outside the event and concerns over the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the perils for journalists covering the conflict, the war hung over this year’s event.
“Shame on you!” protesters draped in the traditional Palestinian keffiyeh cloth shouted, running after men in tuxedos and suits and women in long dresses who were holding clutch purses, as guests and other participants hurried inside.
Chants accused US journalists of undercovering the war and misrepresenting it. “Western media we see you, and all the horrors that you hide,” crowds chanted at one point.
Other protesters lay sprawled motionless on the pavement, next to mock-ups of flak vests with “press” insignia.
Ralliers cried “Free, free Palestine.” They cheered when at one point someone inside the Washington Hilton – where the dinner has been held for decades – unfurled a Palestinian flag from a top-floor hotel window.
Criticism of the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s 6-month-old military offensive in Gaza has spread through American college campuses, with students pitching encampments in an effort to force their universities to divest from Israel. Counterprotests back Israel’s offensive and complain of antisemitism. (AP)

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