More than 100 people gathered at the Colonial Building in downtown St. John's for the second rally held in support of Palestinians. (Elizabeth Whitten/CBC)
For the second time in as many weeks, a group gathered at the Colonial Building in downtown St. John's on Sunday afternoon in support of Palestine.
A similar vigil took place last Sunday and attracted more than 100 people.
Sobia Shaikh, a community organizer, helped organize both rallies. She explained this week's event was more of a rally than a vigil, in part to challenge political leaders who were not calling for a ceasefire, an end to the occupation, stopping the blockades or supporting the Palestinian right of return.
"We know that we can't look away. We can't look away because it's still happening. There's still, you know, hospitals being bombed. There's still children being killed.… There's still an occupation," Shaikh told CBC News.
Whether or not the rallies will continue, she said, depends on a number of factors.
"It depends how people act. It depends on whether there's a ceasefire. It depends on whether the blockade continues. It depends on people getting killed. We don't know. And our energy here locally, as well," she said.
Sobia Shaikh, a community organizer, helped organize both rallies, and said there could be more in the future. (Elizabeth Whitten/CBC)
The conflict started on Oct. 7, when Hamas militants launched a sunrise attack on Israel, leaving 1,400 people dead and taking approximately 200 people as hostages. According to authorities, it has now left thousands of Palestinians and Israelis dead, and millions of people homeless.
Calling for ceasefire
Ash Quinn also attended last Sunday's rally and they were looking to raise awareness, as well as put pressure on the government to force a ceasefire.
After they left last week's vigil, Quinn said they walked away with a sense of community and camaraderie. They've also seen how there have been similar rallies across the world, not just in Newfoundland and Labrador.
"Just seeing that the response here is similar globally. Where the people are at odds with their governments on this issue and just showing that Newfoundland is the same. We also do not stand for this continued genocide and colonization of Palestine."
Ash Quinn (left) attended both rallies and said if more are held, they will be there too. (Elizabeth Whitten/CBC)
Quinn also said if another rally takes place again, they will be there.
"I'm hoping that this just continues to grow…. If it doesn't stop today, we'll be here again," said Quinn.
"We will continue to show up here until… our government stops being complicit."
People gathered on the grounds of the Colonial Building to protest the conditions in Gaza. (Elizabeth Whitten/CBC)
Shyam Yadav, a Memorial University graduate student union representative, said he and others were there to support Palestine as well as Palestinian students living in the province.
"We are here to support the humanities," he said, especially women and children who are suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict.
While Yadav wasn't at last Sunday's vigil, he said he intends to keep coming back if more are held in the future.