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Gaza ceasefire activists: Use Arizona presidential preference election to pressure Biden

Arizona activists supporting a ceasefire in Gaza are urging Democratic voters to support an alternative to President Joe Biden in next week’s presidential preference election.

The push follows a similar effort in last month’s Democratic primary in Michigan, when more than 100,000 voters cast “uncommitted” ballots rather than support Biden as a way to protest the president’s support of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. In other states, some voters wrote in the word “ceasefire.”

Arizona doesn’t have an uncommitted option on its ballots, nor does it allow write-in candidates for president.

So instead, activists like Kai Newkirk are urging Democrats to vote for Marianne Williamson.

“Mark Marianne Williamson on your ballot to send a clear message on election night.  To earn the votes that President Biden needs to defeat Trump in November, he must use the full power of his presidency to demand and secure a permanent and immediate ceasefire now,” Newkirk said at a press conference on Monday.

The event at the Capitol followed Vice President Kamala Harris’ calls last week for an immediate, temporary ceasefire in Gaza.

Activists like Rowan Imran said that wasn’t enough. 

“I am witnessing the obliteration of my people in HD while my government finances and supports the nation that is killing them. This is not a policy dispute. This is complicity in an ethnic cleansing. This is an outcry against genocide, underwritten by my own country,” Imran said.

Despite urging opposition to Biden, activists see former President Donald Trump as a worse option: Trump recently said on Fox News that Israel should “finish the problem” in Gaza. Newkirk also acknowledged that they don’t see Williamson as a candidate who can win, but they want to apply pressure.

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Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.