Thousands show support for Palestine in Chicago march
Videos posted on Twitter showed people waving the Palestinian flag and holding banners condemning the Israeli aggression, which has escalated into heavy airstrikes on Gaza.
Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, issued a statement Wednesday calling for "prayer and peace" between the Palestinians and the Israelis, according to media reports.
"There can be no doubt of Israel's right to a secure existence. Palestinians, too, have a right to statehood, territorial integrity, and safety," Cupich said in his statement.
He added people of all religious communities "have a fundamental right to access safely their holy sites in the City of Peace", in reference to Jerusalem.
The city has been the scene of attacks by Israeli police for days, especially at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound which is considered the third holiest site in Islam.
"All of these rights depend on a mutual commitment to justice. Violent conflict will not advance these rights, but rather it threatens any chance of lasting peace, without which there can be no authentic human flourishing," Cupich's statement read.
The downtown rally, organised by The Coalition for Justice in Palestine, kicked off at 4pm local time (9pm GMT) and marched towards the Israeli consulate in the city.
Marches have taken place across the world in a show of support for Palestinians, especially after the forced expulsion of families from their homes in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Cities around the globe, including New York, London, Ankara, Karachi, Kuwait City and more have seen large gatherings of supporters.
The death toll from days of bombing in Gaza has risen to 83, the health ministry in the besieged land strip said Thursday.
The dead included 17 children, while 487 people were wounded, the ministry said.
Hundreds more Palestinians have been injured in Israeli police assaults on worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Hamas launched rockets at Israel beginning Monday after an ultimatum for Israeli forces to stop assaults in Jerusalem expired.
Seven Israelis are reported to have died in these rocket attacks so far.