Story updated with more information Nov. 14 at 11:36 p.m.
As the war in Gaza continues, Kingston saw its largest pro-Palestine demonstration at City Hall this year over the weekend.
On Nov. 4, nearly 800 community members gathered at Kingston City Hall for the Palestine National Day of Action. The rally in Kingston was organized by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Queen’s (SPHR) and called on elected officials to support a ceasefire and call for humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.
According to an SPHR representative, Saturday was by far the largest pro-Palestine rally in Kingston’s recent history.
“We had folks who are climate activists, elderly Jewish people who are descendants of Holocaust survivors, as well as different solidarity groups from the City, from housing to employment issues. It goes to demonstrate the unity in this cause and the importance of solidarity,” the representative said in an interview with The Journal.
Beginning at 2 p.m., the demonstration quickly grew to hundreds of people carrying signs and waving Palestinian flags. The demonstrators marched around City Hall before proceeding up Brock St. and onto Princess St., and then returned to City Hall.
In a Nov. 12 Instagram post, SPHR said the rally saw a car ramming into a group of protestors, with the driver of the vehicle screaming hateful remarks. That same day, SPHR said another car attempted to run into protestors. According to the post, Kingston Police was immediately notified after the incidents occurred.
The day of action unified protests across Canada organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement and solidarity groups, with thousands showing support in Toronto according to CP24.
The demonstration was in response to Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip after Hamas launched an attack on Oct. 7. Despite the United Nations General Assembly voting for a humanitarian truce, the Canadian government hasn’t advocated for a ceasefire, instead supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.
While several statements have been released by Queen’s Principal Patrick Deane condemning all acts of violence, hate, and discrimination, the SPHR representative criticized the Principal Deane’s neutrality.
“Neutrality makes you complicit in genocide,” the SPHR representative said. “Israel has continuously expelled, displaced, murdered, imprisoned Palestinians for decades at this point. These protests, while they’re getting more media coverage right now, are just a continuation of our people’s call for a liberated Palestine and an end to the colonial settler project.”
The group joined another national call for a ceasefire on Nov. 12.
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