Island group rallies for peace in the Middle East

About 60 Islanders rallied on for peace in the Middle East at the Murphy Community Centre in Charlottetown on Saturday afternoon.

The Island Peace Committee organized its own event in solidarity with the Canadian Peace Alliance in a day of action to oppose war and sanctions on Iran. Anti-war actions are set to take place around the globe. 

On Jan. 3, the United States conducted airstrikes at Baghdad's international airport in Iraq, killing several people, including Qassem Soleimani, a top military figure in Iran.

The peace committee said it's calling on the federal government to denounce the killing of Soleimani, which has been condemned by some as a war crime and a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

"I think it's really enough," said Ali Siadat, who came to PE.I. from Iran nine years ago. "I think we really need to find a pathway to have sustainable peace."

Siadat spoke at the event and shared his grief of the last few weeks with the other attendees. 

"I'm hoping our government or any other person who is in power across the planet, all the countries across the world, I hope they would hear the voice of people who are saying, 'We don't want any other war. We want peace. We want people to feel safe and secure regardless of their location, of where they live.'"

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

The group made plans for the event about two weeks ago. That was before a plane crashed in Iran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board, many of them Canadians.

Iran has announced it shot down the Ukrainian plane unintentionally.

Leo Broderick, one of the event's organizers, said the committee is looking to get attention from the Canadian government.

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

"More than ever we need to see peace," he said.

He said in addition to Saturday's gathering, the group will send a petition to the federal government. 

The group will be hosting another day of action on Jan. 17 at Province House in Charlottetown.

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