Sunday Jan 4 Reports: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza

Gaza attacks spark outcry

BEN LEMPHERS for Metro Edmonton

Hundreds of people gathered outside city hall in support of Palestine, calling for peace and justice. The well-attended, lively demonstration is in response to Israel’s escalating attacks on Gaza, which has claimed several civilian lives. Another gathering is planned for next Saturday.

Local protesters call for end to latest Middle East violence
By JEFF CUMMINGS
January 5 2009

Hundreds of protesters cheered, shouted and sometimes cried in front of city hall yesterday in an emotional rally calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Many were seen carrying signs, while others from Edmonton’s Islamic community were seen wearing Palestinian headscarves and waving Palestinian flags chanting, “Free, free Palestine.”

“This is not an equal war, not a self-defence act, it is a massacre,” read one sign.

Alaa Kadry, a co-organizer behind the large protest, says Israel’s actions against Gaza have affected a large number of families who live in Edmonton.

Some are still having a hard time trying to reach relatives caught in the war, he says.
“We have many families right now who are under siege,” said Kadry, a member of the Canadian-Palestine Cultural Association.

“This is a stand against aggression, against oppression, against all of the massacres that have taken place right now.”

Kadry says the attacks on Gaza are not self-defence, as what many in the international community are calling it.

Peggy Morton, a member with the Edmonton Coalition Against War and Racism, said another protest is being planned at city hall on Saturday and they will keep on protesting “as long as the attacks on Gaza take place.”

Similar protests were held in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver with the largest rally seen in Montreal where thousands of flag-waving protesters flooded downtown streets.

Source

Thousands brave cold in Montreal to denounce Israeli offensive in Gaza

January 4 2009

MONTREAL – A peaceful, well-attended march denouncing the Israeli offensive in Gaza is snaking its way through downtown Montreal this afternoon.

Several thousand placard-toting, flag-waving protesters braved the bitter cold as Israel’s troops and military machinery continued their push into enemy territory.

Demonstrators of all ages gathered in a square on the western tip of Montreal’s downtown core before heading to the Israeli consulate, housed in an office tower just a stone’s throw away.

The march continued peacefully as demonstrators shouted slogans such as “Israel terrorist” and “Free Palestine.”

The Montreal march is the latest in a series of events this weekend across Canada.

Similar events were held Saturday in Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto.

Mideast conflict sparks more protests in T.O.

January 04 2009

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Palestinian supporters in Toronto are planning more protests to urge the Canadian government to speak up against Israel’s escalating military action on the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, thousands of people gathered outside the Israeli consulate on Bloor Street to voice their concern about the violence which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians.

The conflict began on Dec. 27, with Israel saying it would no longer tolerate rocket attacks from Hamas on its border towns — attacks that had intensified after the end of a truce agreement.

Rafeef Ziadah, spokesperson for the Palestine House in Toronto, called Israel’s response a disproportionate use of force.

“This is not self-defence,” she said. “Civilians are the ones being killed today.”

The Palestine House organized Saturday’s rally and Ziadah said more protests are being planned as the organization is watching developments in the Middle East closely.

Saturday’s protest was one of many held by Arab communities around the world.

Meanwhile, supporters of Israel are planning their own rally in Toronto. A rally is being planned for Thursday night to show solidarity with the military and their fight against Hamas.

Meir Weinstein, with the Jewish Defence League, says Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians.

“What the Jewish government is doing is ordering the Israeli Defence Force to finally take action against those sending rockets to Israel,” he told CTV Toronto. “What does a decent person expect to do? This is not a game.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel would protect its civilians from rocket attacks, which continued throughout the air assault.

“This morning I can look every one of you in the eyes and say the government did everything before deciding to go ahead with the operation,” Olmert said.

Israeli officials have said they do not intend to occupy the Gaza Strip and have been clear that the goal is to stop rocket attacks.

However, the ground offensive would not be “a rapid one that would end in hours or a few days,” warned one senior military officer, who asked not be named.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the ground offensive “brutal aggression,” and reached out to his rivals in Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

In response to the troop movement, Hamas officials said Gaza would become a “graveyard” for Israeli soldiers.

“You entered like rats,” Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said in a statement on Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV. “Gaza will be a graveyard for you, God willing.”

Protesters came out in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008 to denounce the Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip and show solidarity with the Palestinian people. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel)

Source

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Published in: on January 5, 2009 at 8:00 am  Comments Off on Sunday Jan 4 Reports: Protests in Canada against Attack in Gaza  
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