Gaza conflict protesters march through downtown Hamilton
Bloodshed continues in the Gaza Strip after 72-hour truce collapsed
More than 250 demonstrators took to the streets in downtown Hamilton Saturday to protest the violence in Gaza, as fighting between Israel and Hamas continues after the collapse of a three-day truce.
The march, dubbed as All Out for Gaza, aims to pressure Israel to end the blockage of the coastal territory, organizers said. The group also protested the Harper government's support of Israel and urged the opposition parties to speak up for Palestinians.
The demonstrators started at City Hall, marched westbound on Main Street and made their first stop at the Effort Trust building on Main Street where the offices of the Jewish National Fund are located. One of the march's goals is to end the charity status of the foundation, organizers said.
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Demonstrators then stopped at the Canadian Tire store down the street, which carries the product SodaStream, to urge stores and consumers to boycott the product.
The Tel Aviv-based company that makes home soda machines has its main plant in an Israeli industrial park next to the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim.
“People should not buy the products of these settlements. That land should be returned to the Palestinian people,” said Ken Stone, treasurer of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, one of the organizers of the march. “By selling the product, they recognize the legitimacy of those settlements.”
Before ending the march in front of the Federal Building, demonstrators stopped at NDP MP David Christopherson's constituency office and urged the opposition to stand up to the Harper government and speak for the Palestinians.
“NDP, get a spine. Stand up for Palestine,” the demonstrators chanted.
The rally is organized by the Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War and the Palestinian Association of Hamilton.
Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip the bloodshed continues following the collapse of a 72-hour truce aimed at ending the month-long war.
Hamas resumed their rocket attacks Friday shortly before the truce expired, injuring two Israelis and drawing a wave of retaliatory airstrikes, the Associated Press reported.
Three bodies, including that of a senior Hamas official, were found under the ruins after Israeli airstrikes, said Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.
More than 1,900 Gazans have been killed in the latest war, roughly three-quarters of them civilians, according to Palestinian and United Nations officials.
On the Israel side, 67 people, including three civilians, have been killed.
There have been several protests in Hamilton since the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas broke out.
A similar protest in late July organized by the same groups drew more than 1,100 people to the streets.
Last Saturday, a protest was staged at the local TV station CHCH in response to what organizers described as the lack of focus on the suffering of Palestinian people.
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press