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Pro-Palestinians demand cease-fire in Gaza as thousands march through downtown Los Angeles

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Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday as part of a worldwide day of action calling for an end to the Israel-Hamas war. Waving Palestinian flags and banners, the demonstrators rallied outside City Hall about 1 p.m. before beginning a slow march down Broadway chanting and carrying signs that said, “Stop the Genocide,” “Free the 2 Million Hostages in Gaza” and “Cease Fire Now.” The crowd of peaceful protesters stretched for several city blocks. Some participants estimated that tens of thousands took part. The Los Angeles Police Department said it did not have a crowd estimate. An LAPD spokesperson said there were four arrests made at the protest related to vandalism — two for felonies and two for misdemeanors. A fifth person was arrested for trying to free one of the people arrested, the spokesperson said.

A man holds a 'Free Palestine' sign while

A participant in Saturday’s pro-Palestinian march in downtown L.A.

(Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

Similar demonstrations took place in large cities across the country, including San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Washington. Israel launched its airstrikes and a ground invasion of Gaza after Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 240 hostages. The death toll in Gaza has since passed 30,000, with most of the casualties women and children, according to the World Health Organization.

Israel has essentially endorsed a framework of a proposed Gaza cease-fire and hostage release deal, and it is now up to Hamas to agree to it, a senior U.S. administration official said Saturday, a day before talks to reach an agreement were to resume in Egypt. International mediators have been working for weeks to broker a pact to pause the fighting before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins around March 10. A deal would also probably allow aid to reach hundreds of thousands of desperate Palestinians in northern Gaza who aid officials say are under threat of famine.

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The Israelis “have more or less accepted” the proposal, which includes a six-week cease-fire and the release by Hamas of hostages considered vulnerable, including the sick, the wounded, the elderly and women, the U.S. official said. United States military planes began the first airdrops of thousands of meals into Gaza, and the militaries of Jordan and Egypt said they also conducted airdrops. Aid groups say airdrops should be only a last resort and instead urge the opening of other crossings into Gaza and the removal of obstacles at the few that are open.

Times staff writer Rebecca Ellis and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

A protester holds an umbrella and a bag of flour, standing near stairs spattered with white powder

A protester gestures after throwing flour on the front steps of City Hall on Saturday. (Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

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Australia inquires about the reasons and methods behind the Bondi stabbing rampage

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The tranquil and picturesque Bondi, a suburb of Sydney on Australia’s eastern coast, was rocked by a devastating tragedy on a seemingly idyllic mid-autumn day. The horrific stabbing rampage that unfolded at a shopping mall near the beach left nearly 20 people wounded, with six tragic fatalities including a 9-month-old baby girl and her mother. The assailant, later identified as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi, was fatally shot by a police officer, adding to the shock and disbelief felt by residents and onlookers.

The aftermath of the brutal attack raised questions about how such a senseless act of violence could occur in a country known for its safety and security. As details emerged about the victims – individuals from diverse backgrounds, each with their own stories and aspirations – a palpable sense of grief and loss enveloped the community.

Authorities have been diligently investigating the incident, trying to ascertain the motive behind Cauchi’s rampage. Initial reports suggested a history of mental illness, but no concrete explanation has been offered thus far. The police have been conducting thorough interviews with witnesses and piecing together the sequence of events that shattered the tranquility of Bondi.

As the community grapples with the aftermath of the tragedy, stories of the victims have begun to surface, each one a poignant reminder of lives cut short. Among the victims was Faraz Tahir, a security guard hailed as a hero for his selfless actions during the attack. Another victim, Ashlee Good, tragically lost her life while her baby daughter survived after undergoing extensive surgery.

The shock and sorrow reverberated through the tight-knit community of Bondi, where residents struggled to come to terms with the inexplicable violence that had unfolded in their midst. A makeshift memorial adorned with flowers and messages of remembrance served as a focal point for mourning and reflection, as residents grappled with the reality of the tragedy.

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For many, the events of that fateful day shattered the illusion of safety and security, reminding them of the fragile nature of peace in an increasingly unpredictable world. As the investigation continues and the community mourns its loss, the resilience and solidarity of the people of Bondi stand as a testament to their strength in the face of adversity.

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