Protests Break Out Ahead of Biden’s SOTU Address

( – President Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday, March 7th, was targeted by pro-Palestinian protestors angry at the Biden administration for continuing to show support for America’s long-time ally, Israel.

Crowds gathered outside the White House before the address, chanting various anti-Israel slogans and demanding that the U.S. withdraw its support of the Middle East’s only democratic nation. Some accused the president of complicity in “genocide,” referring to Israel’s offensives in Gaza following the October 7th massacres in which Gaza’s ruling body, Hamas, slaughtered 1200 Israelis, many of them civilians.

Dozens of protestors blocked the route traditionally taken by the presidential motorcade between the White House and the Capitol, many of them waving banners that called for a cease-fire. Protestors chanted and played music, and one man was arrested after he drove his car to the front of the crowd and revved his engine. As police attempted to take him into custody, he tried to resist, resulting in multiple officers tackling him and bringing him down to the ground. Several nearby protestors then gathered around, heckling the police officers, with one attendee swearing at them and calling them, “slave catchers.”

Pres. Biden faced further protest during his speech from a man in the audience, who waited until the president had been speaking for approximately one hour before yelling, “Remember Abbey Gate!” The man, who was escorted out of the event in handcuffs, was later confirmed to be Steve Nikou, whose son Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikou was killed in the 2021 Abbey Gate suicide bombing outside Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. The bombing came as the U.S., under President Biden’s administration, quickly withdrew troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of U.S. forces in the embattled country. As the U.S. troops were hastily withdrawn, the Islamist Taliban forces quickly, and at times violently, seized power.

U.S. Marine Nikou was one of 13 servicemen killed in the Abbey Gate attack that also killed 170 Afghan civilians. Many Afghans fled – or attempted to flee – the country as the Taliban took power. Since the attack, families of the servicemen killed have demanded answers from the Biden administration. Steve Nikou, who was arrested on a misdemeanor charge at the SOTU address and released the following day, attended the speech as a guest of Congressman Brian Mast (R-Fl), who said that Biden had tried to “turn the page” on the deaths of those servicemen and accused him of causing American deaths through his “incompetence.”

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