Amid violence in Gaza, supporters of Palestinians rally in cities across Canada
TORONTO – Amid growing violence in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, supporters of the Palestinian solidarity movement staged peaceful protests in cities across Canada on Friday and Saturday, ranging from small car rallies to massive marches thousands of people.
In the nation’s capital, thousands of protesters in support of Palestinians gathered at the Human Rights Monument near Ottawa City Hall and marched through the streets of downtown.
“I worry every day. Whenever I see in the news that there has been a bombing in Gaza or a strike in Gaza, my first instinct is to send a message to my family and see how they are doing. “said Nora Abushaban, a participant in the News Ottawa rally.
In Toronto, thousands of people also gathered at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto City Hall, many holding Palestinian flags and signs saying “Free Palestine.”
The Toronto protest also encountered a small group of pro-Israel counter-protesters, with a barricade erected between the two groups by police.
On the West Coast, supporters of the Palestinians also gathered in Vancouver in a march organized by the Canada Palestine Association that ended at the United States Consulate.
About 200 people gathered outside City Hall in Saint John, New Brunswick, waving Palestinian and Canadian flags while holding placards calling for an end to the violence and Israeli airstrikes.
“We want to show our support and solidarity for the basic human rights of these people who live in Sheikh Jarrah, in Gaza City, in Palestine in general,” rally organizer Helmi Alfarra told CTV News Atlantic. .
The latest outbreak of violence in the region began in East Jerusalem last month, when Palestinian protests erupted in response to Israeli police tactics during Ramadan. Protests also erupted after Jewish settlers threatened to evict dozens of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
In response, Hamas militants in Gaza launched rocket attacks against Israel, prompting retaliation from the IDF. At least 188 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 55 children and 33 women, with 1,230 injured on Sunday morning. Eight Israelis were also killed.
Saturday’s rallies coincided with what many Palestinians refer to as “Nakba Day,” which is commemorated on May 15 to mark the displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians following the creation of Israel in 1948.
Participants at the rally in Saskatoon hold signs in front of City Hall. (Tyler Barrow / CTV News Saskatoon)
Hundreds of people also showed up in front of Saskatoon City Hall, chanting “Free and Free Palestine” and “The Occupation Must End”.
“I am here to support the Palestinians at home. Let our voice be heard on what is going on and give it attention, ”rally participant Omar Ash, who was himself born in the Palestinian territories, told CTV News Saskatoon.
CAR RALLIES HELD TO COMPLY WITH COVID-19 RULES
Bearing in mind the restrictions of COVID-19, supporters of Palestinians in some communities have staged car rallies. In London, Ontario, protesters gathered in their vehicles in the parking lot of a local shopping center before descending into the streets.
Hundreds of cars took part in the rally, many of which carried Palestinian flags.
Hundreds of vehicles gathered in shopping malls in London, Ontario. to protest the attacks on Israeli attacks on Palestinians on Friday May 14, 2021 (Bryan Bicknell / CTV News London)
A massive auto rally also took place in Edmonton, which saw hundreds of protesters honking their vehicles and waving Palestinian flags.
“There is a lot of support for it right now, it is getting harder and harder to hide Israel’s atrocities, people are here for basic human rights of Palestinians,” rally organizer Mousa Qasqas said. in an interview with CTV News Edmonton.
Pro-Palestinian protesters staged both a car rally and an in-person protest in Montreal. Hundreds of vehicles displaying Palestinian flags rolled through the streets of Montreal as thousands gathered outside the Israeli Consulate General in Westmount, Quebec.
Supporters of Palestinians in Waterloo region, Ontario. also resorted to holding a car rally after Waterloo Regional Police told organizers an in-person rally would violate COVID-19 restrictions.
“We want people who are not Palestinians to know and understand what is going on in Palestine,” rally organizer Yazan Shaheen told CTV News Kitchener. “It’s the same ethnic cleansing and dispossession of the Palestinian people that we saw in 1948 and here we are again, 73 years later, three generations later, we are seeing it happening again.”
Meanwhile, in Halifax, Halifax Regional Police officers fined and arrested some people involved in a car rally at Saint Mary’s University. Officers said the rally violated province-wide COVID-19 restrictions. Police said around 200 vehicles were involved.
“We just want to show the Palestinian people, the people of Gaza and the West Bank that we support then,” rally participant Alaa Darwish told CTV News Atlantic.
With files from Associated Press, CTV News Atlantic, CTV News Montreal, CP24, CTV News Ottawa, CTV News Saskatoon, CTV News Kitchener, CTV News Edmonton and CTV News London.