Demonstrations in Canada Powerfully Affirm Palestinian Right to Be


On August 10, Palestinian flags and head scarves coloured Dorchester Square as hundreds of people, the vast majority of them youth, participated in an emergency protest, in solidarity with the people of Gaza. They were there to honour the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people against Zionist terror and to demand an end to Canada's appeasement of Israeli colonial violence.

The action was organized by the Montreal Chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement, a transnational, independent, grassroots movement of young Palestinians dedicated to the liberation of their homeland and people, supported by Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU), Montreal 4 Palestine and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), Concordia and McGill University chapters.

A speaker at the rally pointed out that since 2015, Canada has exported $57 million dollars worth of weapons to Israel and $60 million in bomb components, and that in 2021 alone, Canada exported $20 million in military goods. "The rockets that fall [...] are fired by Israel, yes, but they are offered on a silver platter by our government. It's time that Canada end its complicity in the apartheid regime of Israel."

The names and ages of Gaza's most recent martyrs and heroes -- including 16 children -- killed by the Israeli occupation forces in air strikes since August 5, and the three young martyrs killed in Nablus the day after the "ceasefire" came into effect, were read out as the crowd listened in silence.

Participants then noisily marched along St. Catherine Street to the Israeli Consulate. Repeatedly and with determination, they shouted: Palestine Will Live, Palestine Will Win!; Free, Free Gaza!, Free, Free Palestine!; Boycott Israel, Boycott the Criminals; Justice Is Our Demand, No Peace on Stolen Lands!; Canada: Boycott Israel!

The busy commercial street was crowded that summer evening and many in the restaurants and on the terraces took pictures and waved in support, with some joining the march.

As the march ended in front of the Israeli consulate, cordoned off by police, photos of the recent martyrs of Gaza and Nablus were projected on the wall of the building housing the consulate, with captions reading "Intifada," "Unity of all Fronts," "To our Resistance" and others.

Speakers came forward to denounce the role of the Israeli Consulate and Canadian government officials in providing material and financial support for the crimes committed by the Israeli state against the Palestinian people. The crowd shouted "Guilty!" on all counts.

One of the last speakers, a McGill University student, reminded everyone of the McGill administration's attempts to pressure the Students' Society of McGill University (SSMU) to reverse its Palestine Solidarity Policy, approved by undergraduate students in the Winter 2022 Referendum, that garnered a 71 per cent "yes" vote. The administration has threatened the SSMU that if it were to implement its Palestine Solidarity Policy, the collection of ancillary fees that go towards financing SSMU activities will be withdrawn.

An earlier threat came on July 27, with the organization B'nai Brith's announcement that it is funding a McGill University student's lawsuit against the McGill administration, the SSMU and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights McGill. In a recent news release, B'nai Brith said members of the SSMU endorsed a document accusing Israel of apartheid against Palestinians and committed to boycotting "complicit" entities.

The rally ended with more speeches and a candlelight vigil in honour of all Palestinian martyrs killed by the Israeli occupation forces.

Despite ruthless attempts to break Palestinians' collective resistance spirit, this latest war has been named "The Unity of All Fronts," with participants vowing to continue the struggle until full liberation and return.


Hundreds of people -- a large number of youth, including young children with their parents -- gathered at the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa on August 10, in response to the call of the Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians, Palestinian Youth Movement, Samidoun and Carleton Students for Justice.

The names of the 16 children and youth who were killed by the brutal Israeli air strike were read out loud. Some of the children and young people were merely sitting peacefully in a park.

The children were:
Jamil Najm al-Deen Naijm,
Alaa Abdullah Riyad Qaddoum,
Momen al-Nairab,
Haneen Abu Qaida,
Ahmed Yasser Nimr al-Nabaheen,
Hazem Salem,
Ahmad al-Nairab,
Jamil Ihab Najim,
Muhammad Yasser Nimr al-Nabahin,
Dalia Yasser Nimr al-Nabaheen,
Mohammed Hassouna,
Hamed Haider Najim,
Nazmi Fayez Abu Karsh,
Ahmed Walid al-Farram,
Mohammed Salah Naijm, and
Khalil Abu Hamada.

Support for the struggle of the Palestinian people for liberation and justice, and their unconditional right to resist the violence of an occupier were at the heart of each intervention, and met with the thunderous applause of those present.

Among the demands put forward were: End the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement as well as all arms sales to Israel; Israel must lift its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip; and the U.S., Canada and the European Union must stop providing military, political and economic support to the Zionist State. That support is fully responsible for the Zionist occupation, providing Israel with, among other things, the weaponry used to kill the Palestinian people, including children, and to enable the Nakba -- ongoing for the past 75 years -- to continue. The release of all Palestinian prisoners was also demanded, including Khalil Awawdeh, father of four, who has been on a hunger strike for over 150 days and is still being detained.

Other important points made were that ceasefires mean very little to the Israeli occupation forces and vigilance is required to see to it that the achievements of the Palestinian Resistance's selfless and self-sacrificing struggle, continue to be upheld. Several Rabbis made the trip from New York to join the demonstration and express their full support for the Palestinian people. They opposed Zionism and the Zionist state which goes against all principles of Judaism, they said. They called for the Zionist state to be dismantled.

The people marched up Elgin Street, shouting Viva, Viva, Palestina! Our Existence is Resistance! They denounced Zionist aggression and occupation and the appeasement and complicity of the Canadian government every step of the way.

The march passed in front of the Prime Minister's Office, and marched through to the Byward Market, where large groups of people gathered around, and then proceeded up to the Israeli Embassy. Motorists and passers-by expressed their support in various ways.


On the evening of August 11 about 70 people rallied on the riverfront in downtown Windsor to honour the 46 people, including 16 children, killed August 5-7 by Israel's "pre-emptive" bombings of densely populated residential areas in Gaza. They condemned this latest criminal act of the occupying power.

Organizers from the Windsor Palestinian Solidarity Group and the large majority of those in attendance were youth, joined by others of all ages, with a large presence of women and children. Many carried Palestinian flags and wore Palestinian keffiyeh and other traditional Palestinian clothing.

In opening the rally, two speakers denounced Israel's wanton killing of Palestinian children and other civilians in the attacks it regularly carries out with impunity, especially in besieged and blockaded Gaza, with false claims of acting in self-defence. They pointed out the importance of informing neighbours and friends in person and through social media networks of these ongoing crimes -- violations of international law and the rights of the Palestinian people.

It is more necessary than ever, they emphasized, to speak out so these atrocities become known since the big media do not report the truth and social media platforms where people post about Palestinian rights are being taken down.

The rally was followed by a spirited march through the streets of downtown Windsor to City Hall and back. Demonstrators shouted slogans, drawing attention and gestures of support from passersby and people enjoying the evening on outdoor patios along the way. Some of the slogans were Free Free Palestine!; Israel Out of Gaza!; 2, 4, 6, 8, Israel Is an Apartheid State!; and Resistance Is Justified Where People Are Occupied!

On returning to the riverfront, a solemn candlelight vigil was held for the 46 martyrs and their names and ages were read out. Many lingered to discuss with friends, old and new, the need for Canada to be held to account for continuing to cover for the crimes of the Israeli state rather than condemning them. They spoke also of what to do about the role Canada is playing in supporting the dangerous U.S. warmongering and troublemaking in other parts of the world.



An emergency rally in Toronto on August 13 was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement and their allies to condemn the most recent Zionist aggression and aerial bombardment of Gaza. The action, part of ongoing actions in Canada and around the world in support of the Palestinian people, was held across from the U.S. consulate. It honoured as well the martyrdom of resistance fighters Ibrahim al-Nabulsi and Islam Sabouh, and underscored that their heroic lives will live in the continuing fight of the Palestinian people until Palestine is free. The overarching spirit of the rally that the youth in particular exemplified was that of defying the Zionist state of Israel and its brutal attempts to extinguish the Palestinian people's right to be.

The action denounced the decades-long financing of the Zionist colonial project in historic Palestine by the U.S. imperialists. Speakers pointed out that the billions of dollars that the U.S. gives to Israel, along with military assistance, are what keep the Zionist state afloat and fund the ongoing violence, terror and genocide against the Palestinian people.

Speakers also denounced Canada's funding and arming of the Israeli military that is committing war crimes against the Palestinian people as well as the silence and cowardice of sitting politicians in parliament and demanded that they speak out instead of whitewashing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

Another important point raised was the attempt by the Canadian government and post-secondary institutions to silence academics and students who support the just cause of the Palestinian people. A speaker from the Palestinian Student Association at the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus pointed out that students and academics have a right to speak their conscience and uphold the truth of the Palestinian people's struggle, and nothing will deter them from affirming that right.

In the course of the action militant slogans were chanted in English and Arabic affirming the right of the Palestinian people to resist occupation, their right to self-determination, and their heroism.

The names of those killed in Gaza in the latest Israeli military assault were read out and a minute's silence observed in their memory. White roses were placed on the stage beside their names and some of the participants wrote messages of solidarity and support to the Palestinian people.

The action concluded with a representative of the Palestinian Youth Movement affirming that they will continue to organize and denounce the crimes being committed by Israel against the largely unarmed Palestinian people. She expressed confidence that despite the most heinous crimes and brutality being carried out against them, the Palestinian people's cause is just and enjoys wide support in Canada and around the world. She also reiterated that as Canadians of Palestinian nationality they will continue to stand with their friends and families in Gaza and elsewhere and continue supporting their organized resistance to affirm their right to be, their right to their historic homeland, their dignity and their national rights as a people. She thanked all the participants and called on them to continue to speak out in support of the Palestinian people.

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 8 - August 17, 2022

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