PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Hundreds of demonstrators once again gathered outside Textron headquarters in downtown Providence Friday to show their support for Palestinians and condemn the corporation’s contract with the U.S. military.
The protesters marched and chanted outside the Textron building on Westminster Street to demand an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and urge the state’s congressional delegation to do more to halt the hostilities.
Demonstrators holding signs reading “Free Palestine,” “Textron supports genocide” and “End all U.S. aid to Israel” peppered the crowd. An inflatable watermelon — which has become a stand-in symbol for the Palestinian flag — with “End the Siege” printed on it was also on display.
This is the second time protesters have gathered outside the Textron building in recent weeks.
Textron works with the United States Department of Defense, which published a statement last week explaining that the U.S. government is currently “focused on getting Israel the military capabilities it needs.”
In a statement sent to 12 News last week, the corporation stressed that, while it “respects the right of people to engage in peaceful and lawful protest,” it also takes pride in supporting the U.S. military.
The Textron building had been wrapped up in protective plastic after it was vandalized twice earlier this month. (The vandalism was not connected to either of the organized demonstrations.)
Police arrested two Rhode Island School of Design students after the words “kills kids” were found painted in bright red letters underneath the Textron logo. The day prior, the phrase “Free Gaza” had been spray-painted on the side of the building.
The plastic coating appears to have since been taken down. Dozens of officers were seen monitoring the crowd Friday to ensure the safety of the demonstrators and passersby.