March for Palestinian rights held in Venice

FILE: Supporters of Palestine rally at the Federal Building in West Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

A rally and march for Palestinian rights was scheduled in Venice Saturday, nearly one week after a 69-year-old Jewish man suffered a fatal injury during a confrontation at dueling rallies in Ventura County over the war between Israel and Hamas.

According to the group Westside for Palestine, which was organizing the event, the march will begin at 11 a.m. at Oakwood Park at Seventh and Broadway, go north on California Street, then south on Lincoln Boulevard, west on Venice and north on Oakwood Avenue back to the park for a rally at noon including several speeches.

The group said the demonstration was "in support of Palestinians who have been living under apartheid rule and military occupation for the past 75 years."

It was not immediately clear if there would be any counter- demonstrations in support of Israel.

A spokesperson at the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section told City News Service, "We haven't received any notifications" regarding the march.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Jewish man dead after altercation during Israel-Palestine protests in Ventura County

On Monday, Paul Kessler of Thousand Oaks died as a result of injuries sustained during a Sunday altercation at pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian rallies occurring simultaneously at the intersection of Westlake Boulevard and Thousand Oaks Boulevard, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, which was handling the investigation.

The location is in Thousand Oaks just west of the Los Angeles County border, west of the city of Westlake Village.

Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff noted that witnesses at the scene provided conflicting accounts of what occurred prior to Kessler falling to the ground. One witness, Jonathan Oswaks, contends that a pro-Palestine protester struck Kessler in the head with a megaphone, causing him to fall to the ground.

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Fryhoff said the suspect in the case remained at the scene and was among those who called 911 seeking help for the injured man.

Kessler was taken to a hospital for "advanced medical treatment" but died shortly after 1 a.m. Monday, authorities said.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement Tuesday saying that "Los Angeles refuses to harbor this hatred."

"We mourn the death of the Jewish man who died after being injured during a protest in Thousand Oaks," Bass said. "As details emerge and are confirmed, we stand resolute in condemnation of violence and antisemitism. This death is a blow to our region at a time when tensions continue to rise worldwide. We must redouble our efforts to ensure violence and hate are met with accountability and consequences."

On Monday, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky issued a statement saying, "We cannot turn away from this. For the fourth time this year, Los Angeles has suffered yet another major antisemitic crime. We cannot ignore the disgusting antisemitism, hate speech, and violence that has proliferated here at home. While we wait for more details, know this: violence against our community cannot be and will never be tolerated."

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles also issued a statement condemning the man's death.

"We are devastated to learn of the tragic death of an elderly Jewish man who was struck in the head by a megaphone wielded by a pro-Palestinian protester in Westlake Village," according to a statement from the organization. "Our hearts are with the family of the victim. While we wait for more information from our law enforcement partners, we remind you that this is the fourth major antisemitic crime committed in Los Angeles this year alone.

"Violence against our people has no place in civilized society. We demand safety. We will not tolerate violence against our community. We will do everything in our power to prevent it."