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PHOTOS: Nelson residents march in support of cease-fire in Palestine

An estimated 150-200 people attended

A Palestinian-Canadian speaker at a Nov. 9 rally in Nelson asked the Canadian government to demand a ceasefire in Gaza and to send humanitarian aid.

Jennah Al-Hanafy, who described herself as “a Palestinian-Canadian who has never had the pleasure of setting foot on Palestinian soil,” also said the government should “stop funding the genocide.”

Al-Hanafy said Palestine is “finally winning the hearts of the people all over the world. And it’s those in power, including our Canadian governments, who aren’t listening.”

She exhorted the crowd to not respond to hate with hate, or to violence with violence.

“In that way, we have already won,” she said, “because we are not like them. The people of the world are waking up and calling out their governments. We will free Palestine. But it turns out it was Palestine freeing us all along.”

An estimated 150-to-200 people gathered in front of city hall for the rally, then marched down Baker Street in support of Palestine. The event was held on the same day in cities worldwide led by pro-Palestinian organizations demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.

A co-organizer of the Nelson rally, Sian Hughes, told the crowd the event was organized by “concerned citizens, just like you.”

Hughes listed a number of demands including an immediate ceasefire and the “end of the siege of Gaza and an end to the violence in all occupied territories.

”We support the right of return for all Palestinian refugees, and the Palestinian people’s quest for national sovereignty and self determination,” she said.

“We demand the release of the hostages and all illegally detained people throughout Israel and the occupied territories. No one is free until we are all free.”

Hughes called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be tried for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Hughes said the movement for Palestinian liberation is inextricably linked with the struggle against “all manifestations of oppression. This means all forms of bigotry, including anti-indigeneity, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny, transphobia, classism, ableism, and all other forms of hate.”

She said no form of bigotry would be tolerated at the rally. The Nelson Star noted that there were no apparent instances of Islamophobia or anti-Semitism at the event.

“We know that the State of Israel does not represent all Jewish people,” Hughes said, “just as Hamas does not represent all Palestinian people.”

Hughes and Al-Hanafy were the only two speakers at the rally.


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Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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