A little rain and short notice didn’t keep protesters from voicing their anger over the attack by the Israeli military on aid-carrying boats off the coat of the Gaza Strip on Monday (May 31).
The flotilla included Victoria resident Kevin Neish, a 53-year-old retiree who planned to work as a human shield.
A crowd of about 100 people—including members of the Palestinian and Jewish communities—gathered at 300 West Georgia Street, chanting slogans such as “End the siege on Gaza now, free, free Palestine”.
Canada Palestine Support Network founder Mordecai Briemberg told the Georgia Straight at the protest that he was “disgusted with Israel”.
In a speech to the crowd, he reminded protesters that there are still two more ships making their way to the Gaza strip in an attempt to provide humanitarian aid to the 1.5 million Palestinians under siege in Gaza.
Emotions ran high and people were volatile at the protest, which saw members of the Jewish community get into a war of words with pro-Palestinian supporters, despite fighting for the same cause.
Rabbi David Mivasair of the Ahavat Olam synagogue told the Straight that he was shocked by the violence used by the Israeli army on the activists, and hoped that more members of the Jewish community would show their support by standing with the protesters.
“To open fire and kill people is so completely out of proportion,” he said. “This is a further turning point in the decline of Israel’s relationship with the world.”
While trying to explain his synagogue’s support for Palestinians, Mivasair was faced with an outraged man carrying a Palestinian flag who began to rebuke Mivasair without hearing what the rabbi had to say.
“There is a lot of suffering and people are very emotional and reactive right now,” Mivasair said understandingly.
The protest stopped traffic as it headed up Georgia Street and continued to Howe Street.
Those who didn't make it to the protest today can attend one planned for Tuesday (June 1) at 6 p.m. outside the Vancouver Public Library's central branch.
Pro-Palestine protesters march up Georgia Street on Monday May 31
Mordecai Briemberg speaks during the protest.