Pro-Palestinian demonstrators spilled onto streets in several Canadian cities on Thanksgiving Day while the prime minister and Opposition leader spoke at a vigil at a Jewish community centre, following a weekend of deadly fighting in the Middle East.
Protesters gathered at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto City Hall on Monday afternoon, many draped in or waving Palestinian flags as the crowd chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” in a demonstration that was denounced by the city’s mayor.
One sign read, “Occupation is a crime, resistance is a response.”
The gathering came after Hamas militants out of Gaza launched an attack on Israel on Saturday, firing thousands of rockets and sending dozens of fighters to infiltrate the heavily fortified border by air, land and sea.
The attack has been called the deadliest on Israel in years, with the incursion and counteroffensive killing hundreds on both sides and injuring thousands more. In the war’s third day, Israel was still finding bodies and tens of thousands fled their homes in the Gaza Strip as relentless airstrikes levelled buildings.
Global Affairs Canada said it was aware of reports of one Canadian who has died amid the fighting and two others who were missing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack at a vigil in Ottawa in the crowded Soloway Jewish Community Centre Monday evening. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and other local politicians also attended the event.
Trudeau appeared to reference pro-Palestinian rallies across Canada as he addressed the solemn crowd.
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