Protests held in Canada over Israeli military action in Gaza

Photo: Shannon Kelly/CTV Montreal

Hundreds of Canadians protested Israeli military action in Gaza Saturday with demonstrations held in some of Canada's major cities.

The protests were on the second day of an Israeli ground offensive that saw the death toll in Gaza top 330 people.

In Montreal, several hundred people marched through the streets in the city's north end to denounce the attacks.

Jaoudat Abouazza, who emigrated from the West Bank in 1977 and still has family throughout the region, said it's been harrowing watching the tragedy unfold.

"We want peace. We need peace," said Abouazza, who came to the protest with his wife and three children.

"It's very upsetting. It's hard to accept what's been happening there."

Tempers briefly flared at the protest after a woman showed up waving a small Israeli flag.

Terri Allister, a Jewish Montrealer, told demonstrators and reporters that Israel "had the right to defend itself."

One man angered by her presence tried to rip the flag away from her, causing her to lose her balance.

Another woman gave her a hug, and said all the protesters want is peace.

There was a similarly tense scene in Calgary on Friday evening, where a group of Israel supporters showed up at a pro-Palestinian rally and a fight broke out.

Dania Jamous, a 23-year-old Montrealer, said the conflict has been going on for far too long and must stop.

"Children being murdered is not acceptable," she said.

"We need to go into the street and denounce it."

In Toronto, demonstrators held signs with slogans like "Gaza needs more than our prayers," chanting "free, free Palestine," across the street from the Israeli Consulate.

Organizer Hind Awwad said the rally was drawing attention to what she calls "Israel's ongoing aggression."

She said the Harper government's "unwavering support" of Israel amounts to complicity in "crimes in the Gaza Strip."

"We're here to raise our voices and say Israel must be pressured," she said, adding that protesters are calling for sanctions.

Aidan Macdonald, who is also an organizer with the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, said the goal was to "express solidarity" with Palestinians.

"As long as the assault continues, there are going to be people mobilizing in the streets," he said.

Macdonald added the Canadian government's response to the conflict has been "appalling," with officials refusing to condemn the deaths of Palestinian civilians.

The Israeli military has said it has severely diminished the arsenal of Hamas, the Islamic militant group ruling Gaza, but accuses militants of continuing to fire rockets.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday to discuss the situation.

A spokesman for Harper said the two men discussed the need to "make every effort to minimize civilian casualties" and Harper reaffirmed his support for Israel's right to defend itself.

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
  1. Joel posted on 07/19/2014 10:43 PM
    “If in the past year you didn’t CRY OUT when thousands of protesters were killed and injured by Turkey, Egypt and Libya, when more victims than ever were hanged by Iran, women and children in Afghanistan were bombed, whole communities were massacred in South Sudan, 1800 Palestinians were starved and murdered by Assad in Syria, hundreds in Pakistan were killed by jihadist terror attacks, 10,000 Iraqis were killed by terrorists, villagers were slaughtered in Nigeria, but you ONLY cry out for GAZA, then you are not pro HUMAN RIGHTS, you are only ANTI-ISRAEL.” — Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, July 15, 2014
showing all comments

Share this article:

News Videos

Latest News