Montreal Resists Israeli Terrorism in Lebanon and Gaza

Jerome, Mardi, Juillet 18, 2006 - 13:35

--> For photos of the demonstration from Friday and Sunday, visit:

--> For audio reports from Stefan Christoff and Sawsan Kalache, Tadamon! Montreal members currently in Beirut, visit:

Montreal, July 16, 2006 -- Montrealers have taken to the streets twice over the last weekend to protest the escalating Israeli aggression in Lebanon and the Gaza strip. The protests have been organized spontaneously by members of the Lebanese community and their allies in the face of an increasing death count in Lebanon and Palestine.

On Friday, July 14, 250 people came out at noon for a demonstration outside the Israeli consulate in downtown Montreal. It was held in the space where the group Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU) have been holding a silent vigil every Friday for the last five years since the second Palestinian Intifadah started. Instead of a silent vigil, an emotionally charged crowd made it clear that now was the time to be vocal and express outrage at Israeli war crimes. Speeches were made by many activists, including representatives of the Lebanese community and Palestinian refugees. Following the rally, a group marched through downtown Montreal. The demo was called by PAJU, along with the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) - Montreal, Parole Arabe, and Tadamon!

On the following Sunday, July 16, with deaths in Lebanon rising to well over 100 after five days of intense Israeli assaults, another demonstration was held outside the Israeli consulate. This demonstration, organized by Lebanese community centers, mosques, and churches, brought out well over 1000 people on only two days notice. Before the demo got underway, a message was broadcast over the sound-system via cell phone from a resistance fighter in Lebanon. Many people in the crowd listened in with worried looks on their faces.

The march then proceeded down Rene Levesque boulevard, with the crowd chanting "Israel assassinates! Canada is complicit!" and "From Beirut to Palestine, Occupation is a Crime!". Many people, young and old, and their families joined in.

Halfway through the march, a woman broke down in tears upon hearing that members of her family had been killed in Lebanon. Later on, CBC radio news reported that seven Canadian citizens were killed and three seriously injured by the Israeli army in Lebanon today. More people broke down upon hearing the news. Stephen Harper and the Canadian government have given their explicit support to these atrocities being committed by Israel.

The rally ended at the Guy Favreau complex, a federal government building, with more speeches in English, French, and arabic. The speakers made it clear that Canada's support for Israel's actions is in clear violation of international law, and that our politicians must be held accountable.

Israel's bloody invasion of the Gaza strip is almost in its third week, after resistance fighters captured a soldier of the occupation forces. The soldier's release is conditional upon the release of over 8000 Palestinian political prisoners being held in Israeli jails. To date, the Israeli aggression has left 92 Palestinians dead and another 326 wounded, many in critical condition, according to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry.

A coalition of groups came together after Sunday's demonstration to plan another week of actions to put pressure the Canadian and Israeli governments. The next demonstration will be Tuesday, July 18 at 5:00pm at the corner of Peel and Rene-Levesque. Other actions being planned include a human chain through Montreal's old port on Wednesday night, a 24-hour vigil outside the Israeli consulate on Friday, and a call for an international day of action on saturday, july 24.

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