FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two months after the start of the Israel-Hamas war, hundreds gathered at Eaton Plaza in downtown Fresno on Friday afternoon to raise the Palestinian flag.
Hundreds gathered to watch the flag raised at Unity Park as their national anthem played.
"It represents the triumph of our collective efforts to amplify our voice and shed light on the plight of our brothers and sisters back home," said a local Palestinian-American. "Today we send a message to the world: the Palestinian people will not be silenced."
Critics have argued raising the Palestinian flag sends the wrong message because it may be viewed as supporting the terrorist group Hamas.
A slogan that has been a rallying cry for Palestinians but is considered antisemitic by Jewish Americans could be heard during the ceremony.
"From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."
Friday's flag raising comes two months after the city of Fresno held an Israeli flag raising at Eaton Plaza, days after the war broke out.
During October's flag-raising, a pro-Palestine group protested throughout the event and shouted in opposition. However, no Israeli protesters could be seen on Friday.
"My God does not make a distinction between the loss of an innocent Jewish life and the loss of an innocent Palestinian life, and neither should our city," said Fresno city councilmember Miguel Arias.
Arias, who sponsored the Palestinian flag-raising, says this shows the city loves all groups and communities.
"I want to sincerely apologize to our Fresno Palestinian residents for any hurt that was caused by the delayed flag raising that's taken place today," said Arias.
Those with the Palestine freedom project say the flag raising is a symbol that recognizes more than the current death and destruction.
"The ultimate goal is not the lifting of my flag or a temporary ceasefire. The goal we are working towards is the end of the occupation and the liberation of Palestine," said Layla Darwish with the Palestine Freedom Project
Back in 2021, Mayor Jerry Dyer proposed creating Unity Park at Eaton Plaza, as a designated free-speech area where a wide variety of flags can be raised.
The first was the Pride flag, and now the Palestinian flag.
For Palestinian-Americans in attendance Friday, that harmony was felt as their flag was raised high.
"Its pride, its honor, it's a louder voice than all of us combined, it symbolizes our unity, strength, solidarity, and respect for one another regardless of ethnicity, race, or color," said a local Palestinian-American.