At this year’s Lunar New Year parade in NYC, ‘Free Palestine’ protesters joined the route

Pro-Palestinian protesters joined this year’s Lunar New Year parade in New York City’s Chinatown on Sunday.

Over a dozen activists marched with the group Asians 4 Palestine NYC, unveiling a banner with the slogan “Ceasefire Now! End the Siege!” during a parade that was meant to ring in the Year of the Dragon and mark the end of a two-week celebration across many Asian cultures.

Sarinya Srisakul, an organizer of Asians 4 Palestine NYC, told NBC News that the issue hits home for many in the local Chinatown community.

“A lot of us march in the parade every year with different groups, but this was the year where we couldn’t really fully celebrate without talking about what’s happening in Palestine,” Srisakul said.

Better Chinatown, the community group that organizes the parade, did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

The protesters not only marched with their banner, which was translated into English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese; they also displayed a red, green and black dragon that closely matched the Palestinian flag.

Over a dozen activists marched with the group Asians 4 Palestine NYC on Sunday. (Cindy Trinh)
Over a dozen activists marched with the group Asians 4 Palestine NYC on Sunday. (Cindy Trinh)

Srisakul said that her group started off the parade enveloped with fellow activist organization Art Against Displacement. AAD had been protesting the proposed Chinatown “megajail,” one of four facilities meant to replace the controversial Rikers Island by 2027. When the contingent reached the intersection of Mott and Bayard streets, members of Asians 4 Palestine NYC unveiled pro-Palestinian banners, flags and other materials, Srisakul said.

The group also organized a protest at Chinatown’s East Broadway market, where activists handed out materials about the conflict in Gaza, translated in English, Chinese and Korean.

“We make noise in the new year to chase away the bad spirits,” Srisakul said. “We’re making noise to call attention to this really dire situation in Palestine.”

Since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 — in which, according to Israeli authorities, some 1,200 people were killed and 240 were kidnapped — 29,700 people have been killed in Gaza according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. More than 69,800 have been injured, and thousands more are missing and presumed dead. Most of the Palestinian victims are women and children, local authorities say.

Activist group Asians 4 Palestine NYC joins the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade (Cindy Trinh)
Activist group Asians 4 Palestine NYC joins the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade (Cindy Trinh)

Nearly half of Asian American and Pacific Islander adults believe the United States is not supportive enough of Palestinians in the ongoing conflict in Gaza, a report released by AAPI Data/AP-NORC showed. It’s significantly higher than the 36% of the general population that feels the same way.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, director of AAPI Data, previously underscored that the findings do not equate to a pro-Palestinian stance, however. The same study showed that just 11% of AAPI see Israel as a rival.

“This is not anti-Israeli sentiment that is coming through, but probably a concern about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and making sure that Palestinian civilians are alive and safe,” Ramakrishnan said.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com