Demonstrators held several rallies over the weekend in Montreal, some calling for a ceasefire and aid for Gaza, where leaders have described a rapidly-deteriorating humanitarian crisis, while others called on Hamas to release some 200 Israeli hostages.
On Saturday, about a thousand pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets in the latest of a string of demonstrations calling for an end to shelling in Gaza.
This time, marchers condemned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not condemning Israel’s actions. Trudeau has maintained support for Israel since this latest round of conflict with Hamas began in early October.
“We have been violated against for so long,” said Bara Abuhamed with local activist group Montreal for Palestine.
Gazans are living under a near communication blackout as Israeli forces launched an expanded ground operation Saturday. Israel’s defense minister said the war with Hamas has reached a new stage.
“We have been speaking up, and we still haven’t seen any reactions from our leaders,” he added. “No child deserves what’s happening in Gaza.”
On Sunday, Israeli Consul General Paul Hirschson addressed a crowd at Victoria Square.
“They chose the wrong generation of people to do this to,” he said, speaking of Hamas’s attack. Names of the more-than 200 Israeli hostages were read aloud.
The day before, a smaller demonstration followed the installation of posters displaying the names and images of the hostages.
“No matter what you think about the conflict between Palestine and Israel, those things that happened on Oct. 7 shouldn’t happen anywhere,” said event organizer Roni Tisar.
“You can’t kidnap babies and children. you can’t murder women,” she said, adding Israelis in Montreal have been nervous to demonstrate publically for fear of reprisals.
“When I organized this art installation, everyone asked me, ‘will there be police?’ because we are afraid,” she said.
Both sides promised to keep demonstrating until this latest war is over.