Thousands of people across Canada took to the streets over the weekend to protest devastating Israeli airstrikes on Gaza amid the on-going Israel-Hamas war.
Since Friday, people in cities including Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have expressed their anger with Israel's bombing, following Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 incursion.
In photos and content posted to social media over the weekend, people can be seen chanting and holding Palestinian flags, while others hold signs that read demands like "end the siege on Gaza" and "stop Israeli war crimes."
During a pro-Palestinian rally at Toronto's Queen's Park on Friday, demonstrators called on the Ontario government to reconsider a motion that passed the day prior. The motion condemned Hamas and affirmed Israel's right to defend itself.
"We're calling on the provincial government to reconsider the vote that it took yesterday. It was a vote whereby the government refused to include anything that had to do with breaking the siege on Gaza, with allowing humanitarian aid in. It was one that was continuing this trend of erasing Palestinians really across the board," said demonstrator Dalia Awwad, according to CBC News.
On X, formerly known as Twitter, people shared footage of demonstrations that took place in support of Palestine, including several clips showing protesters chant while blocking downtown streets.
Pro-Palestinian demonstration takes place in Toronto pic.twitter.com/k4TJE0qgAK
— Sprinter (@Sprinter99800) October 21, 2023
After breaking through two police lines, thousands in Toronto blocked the on and off-ramp of the Gardiner Expressway and all surrounding intersections.
FREE PALESTINE 🇵🇸
End Israel's genocide.#PalestinianGenocide #GenocideinGaza#FreePalestine#Palestine #Gaza #Toronto pic.twitter.com/nuoF9GmXFX
— Javier Dávila #FreePalestine #NoOneIsDisposable (@XjusticeXpeace) October 21, 2023
— Omar Burgan (@OhmsB) October 22, 2023
Desde #Montreal🇨🇦: América Latina está con Palestina🇸🇩 👊🏽👊🏽
Ni el frío ni la lluvia fueron un obstáculo para manifestar nuestro respaldo al pueblo palestino.
Solidarité avec la Palestine!#Montreal #FreePalaestine https://t.co/acMSijqYBZ pic.twitter.com/95k6A8hPoN
— Ricardo BOTERO 🇨🇴🇨🇦 (@richybotero) October 22, 2023
— Balgees Ajlan (@BalgeesAjlan) October 22, 2023
In downtown Calgary on Sunday, police shared around 330 people gathered in the Olympic Plaza park — some supporting Israel and others supporting Palestine.
"There have been incidents of violence and we are asking the public to avoid the area as we work with both groups to de-escalate the conflict," Calgary police shared on X, adding in a follow-up post that multiple arrests were made.
"From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" chants are being countered by "Free Gaza from Hamas" chants in Calgary, Alberta.
This is the largest counter-protest that Israel supporters have organized in Alberta so far.
Large police presence on location.… pic.twitter.com/wbEJlTiO0t
— Mocha Bezirgan (@BezirganMocha) October 22, 2023
🇨🇦 Calgary, Alberta - Calgary Police is asking people to avoid the area where Pro- Israel and Pro-Palestine demonstrations are happening due to “incidents of violence.”#Canada #Israel #Palestine #Gaza #Calgary
— DaveO ⚔️ 🗽 (@Patri0tCx_) October 22, 2023
Other parts of the world also saw large demonstrations in support of Palestine, with thousands gathering in countries including France, Brazil, Belgium and Sweden.
25000 out in Chicago today pic.twitter.com/D81Kg9By4C
— JM Coetzee (parody) (@MuslimTom_) October 21, 2023
More than 30 MPs in Canada — 23 of whom are Liberals — have written a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to advocate for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
After Israeli warplanes struck targets across Gaza, two airports in Syria and a mosque in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, threats of a widened war grew. Israel has also been trading fire with Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group since the war began.
An estimated 700,000 people have fled northern Gaza amid an expected ground offensive by Israel. However, supply shortages are impacting hospitals and forcing doctors to ration treatment, as Palestinians run low on food, drink dirty water and suffer from cases of chickenpox, scabies and diarrhea.
On Saturday, Israel allowed 20 trucks to enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing shared with Egypt, in the first humanitarian aid shipment since the siege began.
Israeli authorities said late Sunday they had allowed a second batch of aid into Gaza at the request of the United States, according to the Canadian Press.
Since the conflict began two weeks ago, more than 4,600 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. More than 1,400 people in Israel have also died, most of whom were killed during Hamas' initial Oct. 7 attack.