Edmonton

Hundreds attend pro-Palestinian rallies in Edmonton and Calgary

Fatmeh Kalouti, one of the organizers of the Edmonton rally, doesn't have the numbers in from Sunday's event yet, but estimated there were more than 1,000 people there.

Edmonton organizer estimates more than 1,000 people gathered in Hawrelak Park Sunday

An organizer estimated more than 1,000 people gathered in Hawrelak Park Sunday in support of Palestine. (Instagram/drone360imagery)

Pro-Palestinian rallies were held in both Edmonton and Calgary on Sunday. 

Saturday marked the first full day of a ceasefire, agreed to by Israel and Hamas, that went into effect early Friday morning. It marked the end of a devastating 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life to a standstill in much of Israel.

Fatmeh Kalouti, one of the organizers of the Edmonton rally, didn't have the numbers in from Sunday's event yet, but estimated more than 1,000 people attended. It's the third event in the span of a week. 

"It's not just the Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim community that's coming out to these events," Kalouti said in an interview. "We have heard a lot of support and so many different liberation movements have reached out to us. 

"We've had support messages from Black Lives Matter Edmonton, from the Ukrainian community in Edmonton, from the Jewish community in Edmonton, from the Mennonite community in Edmonton. People in Edmonton are so quick to support and so quick to mobilize and be there to help in any way that they can."

Kalouti said children released 75 biodegradable balloons at the end of the rally, in memory of the 75 children killed in Gaza in recent days. People linked up in a human chain throughout the event, separated by Palestinian flags and keffiyeh, a Palestinian scarf.

Calgary rally marches on despite weather

Around 400 demonstrators met at Calgary's Olympic Plaza, before marching through downtown.

"We are soaked, flags are soaked but spirits are high," Saima Jamal, a community activist, said of the large turnout. 

It was the latest after at least three other large protests in support of Palestinians held in the city. 

Despite the rain, around 400 people showed up to the Calgary event. (Submitted by Marwan Diab)

"Calgarians made history for the past three weeks. When I watch you guys rally in the streets, you ignite the whole country," speaker Mahmoud Mourra told the crowd at Olympic Plaza, before reading the names of the dead in Gaza as other organizers released balloons into the sky as well. 

"All of them are brothers and sisters to someone."

With files from Sarah Rieger and CBC Toronto

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