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Protesters in support of Gaza march in downtown Montreal


Demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Montreal Friday evening to express solidarity with Palestinian civilians under attack by continued Israeli airstrikes. 

The crowd met at Dorchester Square where speakers shouted on megaphones to renew their calls for a ceasefire but also to promote a boycott of businesses they believe are sympathetic to the Israeli government.

There was a heavy police presence at the protest. "I understand it's hard to hold that pain back," said a man as he called on the large crowd to protest peacefully.

The protester made reference to the more than 11,000 people who have been killed in the Gaza Strip from Israeli military bombardment, denouncing world leaders' reluctance to call for a ceasefire.

"We ask for a ceasefire now," he said. "And that was not enough to get our leaders to speak up. That was not enough for Justin Trudeau to feel the pain and ask to end this. That was not enough for Biden, for Netanyahu for all these people to be able to … ask for sanctions against Israel. We need to pick up our game."

In an exclusive interview with Noovo Info, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau maintained that humanitarian pauses are needed to help civilians trapped in the Gaza Strip.

"The cost of justice cannot be the suffering of all civilians in Gaza," said Trudeau on Thursday, without calling for a ceasefire.

"A ceasefire is negotiated between the two parties," he added. "Hamas is not interested. It's not interested in freeing the hostages, and Israel has the right to defend itself."

Amjab Jarar, a Palestinian, came to Montreal two months ago and says he has had relatives and two friends who were killed back home in previous conflicts with Israel. He said he came to the protest Friday to deliver a message to the Canadian government that a ceasefire is needed.

"I will, of course, every time support my people because they're being bombed every day," he said. "Today, it's happening again."

Pro-Palestinian protesters march in downtown Montreal on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. (CTV News)

Before starting the march, demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and chanted messages such as "Free, free Palestine" and "The occupation, shut it down."

Noor, who only provided her first name, attended the event to support calls for a boycott.

"We're trying to take direct action because the government's not listening to us," she said, adding that a ceasefire remains the group's primary demand.

The crowd marched through downtown streets and stopped outside various businesses along the way.

As of 7 p.m., police said they were still monitoring the march, which was held amid intensifying strikes in the Gaza Strip.

Residents who escaped to the south and Palestinian health officials reported strikes in and around Gaza City's main hospital overnight. Israel said at least one was the result of a misfired Palestinian rocket.

The World Health Organization said Friday that 20 of Gaza's 36 hospitals are no longer functioning, including a pediatric hospital that has stopped operations after a reported Israeli strike in the area.

Another pro-Palestinian protest is scheduled to be held in Montreal on Sunday. 

With files from CTV News Montreal's Matt Grillo and The Associated Press Top Stories

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