Huge crowds gathered for a pro-Palestinian rally in Mississauga Tuesday evening as violence continues in the Middle East.
Protesters said they wanted to bring awareness to what Palestinians are experiencing amid the escalating Israel-Palestine conflict.
“These people are from my country and they’re being murdered or bombarded with bombs and it’s like nobody cares,” said demonstrator Sara Abu Hattab.
“It’s like human rights are thrown out the window once it’s about Palestine.”
Hundreds have died in recent days after Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, launched rockets and Israel unleashed airstrikes.
Gaza’s health ministry says the Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 213 Palestinians, including 61 children, and wounded about 1,500 other Palestinians.
Israel says 12 people have died, including two children, and at least 300 have been wounded.
Tuesday’s rally was held at Celebration Square in central Mississauga and demonstrators also marched on nearby roads.
“This cause is very important to my heart and for once we see protests that are actually making it to the news, that are actually getting out there and people are hearing about it,” Abu Hattab said.
“So for me it’s about awareness and getting the community to know what’s happening.”
Hamdi Ashour, originally from Gaza, attended the demonstration in Mississauga. He said his family’s home and workplace were recently bombed in Gaza.
“On Thursday — Eid — my family phoned me and said that their workshop and the apartment were bombed,” he said.
“They were called by the Israeli army and were given five minutes to flee the home and then they bombed it to the ground. And the next day they bombed my cousin’s factory which is just used to store granite. So now my family has no home and have no sorts of income at all.”
Given the situation in Gaza, he said he was pleased to see demonstrators out showing support for the Palestinian people.
“I’m worried about COVID and everybody in here, but it shows a strong solidarity,” he said.
“If you look around, it’s not just Palestinians. People are from all walks of Earth, whether they’re from different countries, difference races, different colours and they’re all standing because this is inhumane.”
Since the fighting began, the Israeli military has launched hundreds of airstrikes it says are targeting Hamas’ militant infrastructure. Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired more than 3,400 rockets into Israel.
Israel has vowed to press on with its operations.
“We will continue to operate as long as necessary in order to return calm and security to all Israeli citizens,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.
Canada is now calling for a ceasefire. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will work with the international community in a bid to de-escalate the situation “so that there is no more loss of civilian life.”
— With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press