Thousands of people gathered across from the White House on Saturday, even though the president was out of town, to condemn US and Israeli policies in the Middle East. Speakers in Lafayette Park energized the most mostly Muslim crowd with chants and speeches condemning Israeli involvement in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, US support for Israel, and US involvement in Iraq. "Occupation is a crime," the crowd chanted, equating the situations in the three areas. But they also called for peace and justice for all. "We all stand united against the violence and the killing in the holy land," said Esam Omesh, president of the Muslim American Society, a co-sponsor of the demonstration. "There is no difference between Muslim life, Christian life, or Jewish life."