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Day of Rage Occupies Canada’s Busiest Intersection

By: 
Stephen Ellis

July 5, 2020

On Saturday, July 4, 2020, approximately 400 demonstrators from the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and their community allies occupied and halted traffic at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor, to oppose Israel's plan to annex large parts of the West Bank.

Israel has recently announced plans to begin annexing the West Bank in July 2020, with the full backing of the Trump and Trudeau governments. Annexing territory without granting full citizenship rights to the three million Palestinians in the West Bank would constitute apartheid; Palestinians would be left in nominally autonomous and disconnected enclaves under Israeli rule.

Activists chanted, “Justin Trudeau, you will see, Palestine will be free!” and called on the federal government to condemn the planned annexation and take substantive action against it.

The rally attracted an incredible array of speakers from different groups. Speakers included Audrey Huntley (Indigenous Land Defense across Borders), Sien Saningong Azinwi (Canadian Federation of Students), Nabil Nassar (APAO), Sue Goldstein (Independent Jewish Voices-Toronto), Eli Ade Kur (Black Lives Matter), Professor Atif Kubursi (SSNP), Maysam (poet - C4P/Students Coalition), Ali Mallah (Al-Quds & CAADC), Zafar Bangash (Muslim Community), Doug Brown (Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War) and Rajean Hoilett (Toronto Prisoners Project)

The Canadian government was urged to abide by its stated commitment to international law and the rules-based order by pledging meaningful steps against Israel’s unilateral annexations, including the imposition of sanctions and the suspension of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.

Israeli control of Palestinian territories is illegal under international law, which is clear in its emphasis on the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force.” Despite numerous UN resolutions urging Israel to end its occupation, Israel has chosen to continue on the path of settler-colonialism, apartheid, land seizure and forcible displacement of Palestinians.

Another rally was held on the same day in Mississauga, Ontario.

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