'It breaks my heart': People rally outside Windsor City Hall in support of Iraqi protesters

Several hundred people from Windsor's Iraqi community gathered outside of Windsor City Hall Sunday night to condemn the violence against anti-government protesters in Iraq by Iraqi security forces.

Those who attended the rally said they hope the event raises awareness about the massive protests that have been taking place in the country since Oct. 1.

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"I'm hoping we get the word [out] to the public," said Sam Petros, one of the organizers of the demonstration. He added that protestors there only want basic life necessities like water, electricity and education.

Eleven-year-old Isaac Alshara also attended the rally with his family.

"This protest means the social awareness of my country and what the [Iraqi] government is doing to my country," he said.

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"We need people to know so they can save Iraq," he said. "It makes me feel horrible that they want freedom in their country and they're just getting killed by protesting for it."

 At least 341 people have died in massive protests in Iraq since early last month, according to the Associated Press.    

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"We want to make noise today and a big call for everyone in Canada," said Father Sarmed Biloues of The Holy Family Chaldean Catholic Church, adding that it's everyone's responsibility to take care of Iraqi youth.

"We have to stop killing. We cannot kill people."

Eleven-year-old Hosep Sarkisean said he feels sad hearing about people dying in Iraq, where he lived for six years.  

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Maryam Naeem, who moved to Canada in 2016, said it breaks her heart to see what's going on in her home country.

"I wish I was there to help them," she said. "It's so sad to watch them suffer and get killed and bleed ... and we can't do anything."

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Petros said the protest is particularly significant in Windsor because there is a big Iraqi community living here.

"We're all affected by what's going on there."