Rising Mid-East death toll inspires downtown march
Published Sunday, November 18, 2012 5:03PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 18, 2012 6:19PM EST
MONTREAL - Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Concordia University’s Hall building on de Maisonneuve Sunday to voice their concerns about ongoing renewed violence in the Middle East.
The protest was an indication that local passions are becoming increasingly inflamed concerning the events, which have featured rocket-launches against Israel and mass-bombing counterattacks and that has led to dozens of deaths, mostly of Palestinians.
One protester expressed a desire to see sweeping change in the region.
“We call on Israel not only to stop the attacks that are ongoing since Wednesday but also to end the illegal siege of Gaza and also of all the Palestinian territory,” said Sara Shaltony of Concordia’s Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights
“This is not about one civilian's life is worth more than the others. We're discussing the Palestinian civilians more because the mainstream media seems to have forgotten them and so what we're doing is talking about the alternative narrative here,” she said.
She said that the demonstrators have been making an effort to honour casualties on both sides.
“At the vigil that we held on Friday we called out the names of the Palestinians who were murdered since Wednesday and we also mentioned the three civilian casualties that have happened since Wednesday so of course every life is precious,” she said.
Another demonstrator agreed that the imbalance in the death totals is a cause for concern.
“You see hundreds of deaths on one side you have to ask, why are these people not equivalent to these other people who are dying?” he asked.
But at least one person present believed that the march was not aimed at promoting peace.
Lucian del Negro, Vice President for the Centre for Israel and Social Affairs of the Quebec Region said that the demonstrators do not have an open mind towards Israel.
“This demonstration certainly aims at demonizing Israel and comes to the support of Hamas. There would be no conflict, there would be no violence if Hamas would simply cease to fire their missiles as they have been doing for the last 10 years at the civilian population of southern Israel and now as they're doing in Tel Aviv in Jerusalem,” he said.
“Where are these people, where are they when there are thousands of Syrians being slaughtered by their government, where are these hundreds of demonstrators? Nowhere to be seen,” said del Negro.
The protesters came out in large numbers for the march downtown Sunday afternoon.