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Demonstration in Montreal in support of the Palestinians

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar24,2024

Demonstration in Montreal in support of Palestinians

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Hundreds of people marched in the streets of Montreal on Saturday to demand a ceasefire in Gaza .

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Palestinian flags, keffiyehs, drums and calls for a ceasefire: hundreds of people marched in the streets of Montreal on Saturday, under the snow, to denounce “Canada's complicity in the massacres perpetrated by Israel in Gaza in complete impunity since October.”

Organized following a call from the Quebec Urgence Palestine Coalition, the demonstration, which began around 2 p.m. at Dorchester Square, was supported by 228 organizations, including unions, student associations, professional federations , neighborhood associations as well as political parties such as Québec solidaire (QS), the Green Party of Quebec, the Communist Party of Quebec and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec.

Ruba Ghazal, MP for QS in Mercier, herself of Palestinian origin, was among the crowd to denounce the massacre of an innocent population. With 32,000 deaths, including many children, it is important for us to continue actions of solidarity with the Palestinian people, she declared, delighted to see so many people.

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Ruba Ghazal, member of Québec solidaire in Mercier

Approximately 150 Public figures also responded to the call from the Quebec Urgence Palestine Coalition, including Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, author, filmmaker and co-founder of the Mothers at the Front movement.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Very moved, Ms. Barbeau-Lavalette, who lived in the Palestinian territories, took the floor to tell the story of her friend Rima, mother of five children, with whom she is in regular contact and who lost dozens of limbs of his family since the start of the Israeli assault on Gaza, launched following the bloody Hamas attack on October 7.

Somewhere, we are all Palestinian mothers, we are there to protect children in a broad way. There is a kind of willful blindness, children are dying of hunger. Mothers at the Front stands up to this devastating lack of humanity.

A quote from Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, artist and co-founder of the Mothers at the Front movement

Our lack of courage is astonishing, it pains me, she added, saying she regrets that in Canada, we remain so immobile and so little vocal, even though we have major levers to change the situation and promote the survival of human beings.

The demonstrators were mobilized around common demands: an immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the free flow of humanitarian aid throughout the territory and an embargo on the export of weapons to of Israel.

The non-binding motion passed last week by Parliament in Ottawa is thus considered insufficient by several demonstrators interviewed by Radio-Canada, in particular because it does not cover the trade in arms passing through the United States.

Another position shared by the crowd: the refusal to speak of a conflict or a war to present this situation as the result of an occupation and ;colonization.

We are not in a normal war situation, far from it: we are trying to eradicate a people and their notion of sovereignty, declared Marc-Édouard Joubert, president of the FTQ Metropolitan Montreal regional council, whose union supports self-determination of the Palestinian people for more than 20 years.

The word “genocide” was also on everyone's lips and on many signs, notably echoing the complaint filed by Africa of the South before the International Court of Justice, the highest court of the United Nations, last December.

Connections were also made between the struggle for liberation of Palestine and that of the indigenous peoples of Canada.

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Raymond Legault, spokesperson for the Échec à la guerre Collective

For Raymond Legault, spokesperson for the Collective Échec à la guerre, the first objective of the demonstration was to make visible to the eyes of the governments, that of Ottawa and Quebec, and to the eyes of the media, the extent of the indignation that exists in Quebec on everything that is happening at the moment in Gaza and what we, within the Collective, call a genocide.

Mouloud Idir, another demonstrator, explained that he was there to bring Canada back to its responsibilities. This is the minimum that we, citizens of a liberal democracy which calls itself a beacon of democracy and human rights, can do. Pressure must come from below and from citizens, he expressed.

Diane Lamoureux, member of the board of directors of the League of Rights and Freedoms, deplored an unbalanced Canadian foreign policy, in particular because it does not recognize Palestine. We are demanding another Canadian policy on Gaza. The government took too long to call for a ceasefire, underlined this professor emeritus at Laval University.

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Diane Lamoureux, member of the board of directors of the League of Rights and Liberties

Quebec was also in the crosshairs of the demonstrators, especially because of the announcement last August of the opening of a Quebec office in Tel Aviv.

Ruba Ghazal recalled the existence of petitions totaling nearly 12,000 signatures against the opening of this diplomatic representation, filed in February at the #x27;National Assembly.

In addition to the Montreal demonstration, another gathering also took place the same day in Rimouski, at Parc de la Gare. It was organized by the Carrefour international bas-Laurentien for social engagement, by the General Student Association of the Rimouski campus of UQAR and by the Collectif Églantine.

Another demonstration, organized by Quebec Palestine, is planned in Quebec in front of the National Assembly on Sunday at 1 p.m.

With information from Elyse Allard

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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