Protesters rally in Vancouver against Israel’s attacks on Gaza

About 250 pro-Palestinian demonstrators braved sleet and hail today (December 29) outside the U.S. consulate in downtown Vancouver to voice their opposition to Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza.

In Portal Park, on the north side of Hastings at Thurlow, the event kicked off with protesters chanting “Viva, viva intifada!” and “1-2-3-4, we don’t want this racist war!” The crowd ranged from infant to elderly. Some participants were Palestinian-born, others Israeli, and some Christian, while others represented the antiwar movement.

Across Hastings Street, eight pro-Israel demonstrators shouted “Hamas is a terrorist organization” and waved the Israeli flag. They shouted throughout the hourlong event, under the gaze of about a dozen visible members of the Vancouver Police Department.

Though a couple of pro-Palestinian demonstrators yelled back and gave the pro-Israeli counter-protesters the finger, there was no physical confrontation. Unlike similar protests happening around the world, this one featured no flag-burning or shoe-throwing. The pro-Israel contingent left at 1 p.m. At the same time, a short march by the pro-Palestinian demonstrators ended peacefully at the Pender entrance to the consulate.

According to a news release, the pro-Palestinian protest was endorsed by Adala-Arab Justice Committee; Al-Awda Vancouver; Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign; Canadian Arab Federation; Canada Palestine Association Vancouver; Canadians Against War; Canadian Islamic Congress B.C.; Canadian Muslim Union; CanPalNet; Code Pink Women for Peace; Jews for a Just Peace; No One Is Illegal Vancouver; Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (UBC); StopWar coalition; Muslim Canadian Federation Vancouver; Students for a Democratic Society (UBC); the Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice; Vancouver Socialist Forum; and Voice of Palestine Vancouver.

The pro-Israel protesters said they did not represent any particular organization.

Video from Vancouver photographer Kris Krug.

See also, Vancouver protesters praise intifada, slam Gaza attacks.