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Hundreds hold vigil outside Israeli embassy following US airman's pro-Gaza self-immolation

A mourner places incense at a memorial during a vigil for US Airman Aaron Bushnell, who died after setting himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington on February 25, 2024. (Photo via Reuters)

Hundreds have gathered in vigil outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, a day after a member of US Air Force set himself on fire to protest Israel's genocide in besieged Gaza.

The crowd's chant of "We will never forget our martyrs" rang out on Monday afternoon during a gathering that served as both a political rally and a memorial service.

Signs bearing the powerful message "His Last Words — Free Palestine" were held up as a speaker criticized Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

People held up signs saying, ‘Stop US support for genocide’ at the vigil for Ariel Bushnell, pointing to the United States' unconditional support for the Israeli regime.

A funeral wreath and black balloons were placed at the site where the 25-year-old airman chose to self-immolate.

Bushnell, an active-duty member of the US Air Force, set himself on fire outside the embassy of the Israeli regime in protest against the campaign of death and destruction in Gaza

On Sunday afternoon, Bushnell began a Twitch livestream and is seen setting his phone on the ground before pouring an unknown liquid from a metal bottle over himself and igniting it while yelling “Free Palestine!” repeatedly.

"I will no longer be complicit in genocide," he said in the video. "I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest. But compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it's not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal."

Bushnell's protest, viewed as a powerful act of resistance against the genocide imposed upon the besieged population of Gaza, also deeply touched the hearts of countless individuals across the United States and around the world.

The hashtag #AaronBushnell dominated as the top trend on X, previously known as Twitter, with one million posts on Monday.

Following the Pentagon's characterization of Bushnell's death as a "tragic event," the Joe Biden administration is likely to face heightened demands to rein in its ally Israel and enforce a binding ceasefire in Gaza.

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