Government Relations

Amnesty International USA Demonstration at the White House for an End to U.S. Hypocrisy on Human Rights

April 12, 2024 |USA

Amnesty International USA protesters hold End US hypocrisy on human rights banner at the White House
(Lauren Murphy/Amnesty International USA)

Over 400 Amnesty International USA members, staff and supporters gathered in D.C. for its Annual General Meeting (AGM) from February 23 to 25, 2024. What better way to commemorate the occasion than with a demonstration at the White House?

The time was ripe for action. The weekend marked the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and over four months since the start of the Israeli military assault and complete siege of the occupied Gaza Strip following the Hamas-led October 7th attacks in Israel. Biden had still not heeded the world’s call for him to support an immediate and permanent ceasefire. Meanwhile, there had been limited attention on the crisis in Sudan, and the Biden administration was playing a dangerous political game with US border policy.

Isra Chaker, AIUSA’s Senior Campaign Manager, explained, “The idea was, given that the AGM is happening in Washington D.C., to leverage and harness that people power in an impactful way and use our voices collectively.”

Around 250 activists boarded four tour buses to show their collective strength at the White House.

Nadia Daar, AIUSA’s Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, speaks at White House demonstration
(David Rendall, AIUSA Area Coordinator, New Jersey)

Our demands

Nadia Daar, AIUSA’s Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, stated the purpose of our demonstration:

“It’s time for the U.S. government to put politics aside and to respect, protect, and fulfill everyone’s human rights, here in the United States and everywhere, without discrimination and without delay.”

Daar talked about the need for the U.S. to have a consistent approach to human rights whether we’re talking about Russia and Ukraine, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Sudan, or here at home, including at the border.

Activists held a banner that read “End U.S. Hypocrisy on Human Rights.” For many, this was the first time protesting in front of the White House.

Amnesty International USA protesters at the White House
(Lauren Murphy/Amnesty International USA)

“I could feel the essence of grassroots activism as I stood with Amnesty’s crowd in front of the White House: people power. It was my first experience with public advocacy that felt collective instead of individual.”

  • Abby Niquette, Youth Collective member

“Standing in solidarity with fellow members and staff in protest was an empowering experience, reinforcing the collective strength and commitment of the Amnesty community to advocate for justice and human rights.”

— Hazar Yueksel, AIUSA Group 30 member, San Francisco, CA
Amnesty International USA protesters hold Ceasefire Now signs
(Adeel Hassan)

Our activists held “President Biden: Ceasefire Now!” signs and chanted:

  • “Hey, hey, ho, ho, hypocrisy has got to go.”
  • ”What does solidarity look like? We’re what solidarity looks like. What does unity look like? This is what unity looks like.”
  • “What do we want? Ceasefire. When do we want it? Now.”
Amnesty International USA protesters hold candles at White House
(Adeel Hassan)

Moment of silence

“There was also a moment of silence. Standing still and quiet together, holding a candle, taking a few moments to acknowledge the immense suffering and recommitting ourselves to fight for justice.”

– Laura Rusu, Senior Director of Media Relations, AIUSA

“It would be so powerful for everyone to leave their imprint, leave their mark visually to represent solidarity.”

Isra Chaker, Senior Campaign Manager, AIUSA

Amnesty International USA protesters leave handprint on Let Gaza Live banner
(Lauren Murphy/Amnesty International USA)

Leaving our mark

To end the demonstration with a surge of energy, staff members unrolled a bright yellow paper banner that read “Let Gaza Live” and poured black paint into plates. One by one, our activists dipped their hands in the paint and pressed them on the banner, leaving their mark—literally.

An AIUSA staff member said they appreciated the collective nature of the action. “It gave us something more to do than chant and felt like it was building community.”

woman and child put their handprints on Let Gaza Live banner
(Ken Mayers, AIUSA member)

Biden’s motorcade

Our demonstrators didn’t actually meet President Biden, but his motorcade arrived at the White House, creating roadblocks and delaying their return to the AGM.

“Over the years, I have attended many Amnesty stunts and rallies, but this year’s AGM action had a special energy behind it. It was palpable. This was especially apparent when the group stood ready to make their voices heard as Biden’s motorcade returned to the White House by sheer chance. Stepping back across the street, I took in the enormity of the crowd of activists and understood more than ever how powerful the Amnesty movement is.”

Lauren Murphy, Multimedia Manager, AIUSA

Biden’s motorcade couldn’t divert our activists away from the AGM. They arrived in time for the next plenary, energized and more committed than ever to fight for human rights.

Want to join us at our next AGM? Become an Amnesty International USA member and join the movement.