A dark, rainy night did not stop hundreds of people from gathering in downtown Vancouver Thursday evening to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
The event was one of nearly a hundred held across Canada and the United States, under the banner “Stop it for Palestine.”
After speeches on the stairs of the Vancouver Art Gallery, protesters took to the streets to attend a fundraiser for Federal Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly in Yaletown.
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“We are calling for a ceasefire,” protester Janine Solanki told Global News.
“Israel bombs daily,” she added, highlighting the destruction of hospitals, mosques and churches in the Gaza Strip.
Protesters want to pressure the minister to end what she claims is Canada’s unequivocal support for the Israeli government, which she accuses of “indiscriminately bombing the Gaza Strip and also attacking Palestinians.” in the West Bank.
“What we demand is peace for all in Palestine,” she said.
Protester Flora Cholac said her husband was Palestinian and she had friends in Gaza and the West Bank who were forced to leave their homes.
“It’s not about being against the Jewish people. It’s about being against this genocide,” she said.
“It’s really sad to see our leaders not representing the people of the world.”
Earlier on Thursday, Israel agreed to begin four-hour daily breaks in the northern Gaza Strip to allow civilians to flee hostilities, following pressure from the United States.
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Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Thursday that the army was taking “localized and precise measures” in Gaza to allow Palestinian refugees to flee fighting with Hamas, apparently referring to the four-hour pauses announced by Washington.
The war will continue until Hamas is overthrown and the hostages held in Gaza are released, he said.
The protest comes more than a month after Hamas gunmen stormed into Israel, massacring around 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and taking 240 hostages.
Israel responded with heavy bombing and a ground invasion that, according to Gaza’s health ministry, killed more than 10,000 people, including more than 4,000 children.
Earlier Thursday, 32 additional Canadians were able to leave the Gaza Strip for Egypt after the opening of a key border crossing, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Israel to ensure that newly agreed humanitarian pauses in the Fighting lasts long enough for people to leave. the area and for help to arrive.
“We have been calling for humanitarian pauses for weeks,” Trudeau said at a news conference Thursday.
“They have to be meaningful; they have to last long enough to get people out (and) to get supplies in.” And we need to start using them to start thinking about what the medium and long term are.
— With files from the Canadian Press and the Associated Press
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