At 4 p.m. on Monday, roughly 60 people gathered in front of MacEwan University’s Robbins Health Learning Centre to demonstrate their support for Palestine in the wake of increasing violence with Israel.
Protestors adorned themselves with green, white, and red while flying Palestinian flags and waving signs. The crowds chanted, “Free. Free. Palestine,” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” As the protest continued three passersby attempted to yell at the crowd but were drowned out by the chants and honking horns.
“I feel like no conflict should result in weapons being used on civilians, no matter what,”
— MacEwan student Idris Warfa
The conflict between Israel and Palestine has escalated since attacks from the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas killed more than 1400 people while breaking into Israeli territory on Oct. 7. Israel responded with a declaration of war and has since dropped over 6,000 bombs over densely inhabited territory in Gaza. Over 2,800 people in Gaza have been killed, Palestinian reports say.
On Friday, the Israeli government ordered all 1.1 Million people in northern Gaza to evacuate. MacEwan students are saying that Israel’s response is unjust.
“I feel like no conflict should result in weapons being used on civilians, no matter what,” says Idris Warfa, who came out to the protest at the recommendation of a friend. When asked about the evacuation order, Warfa said, “It’s unfair — it’s impossible for a million people to evacuate in 24 hours.”
Omru Darwood and Yasmeen Othman, both MacEwan business students as well as Palestinian-Canadians, say they came out to support their home.
“We’re rallying for our country,” Othman said. “Don’t listen to the bias of the news, do your own education, like, it’s not one side or the other. There’s the side of humanity or nothing.”
“Get informed on the situation happening, cause a lot of people are misinformed and they talk with a lot of ignorance,” Dawood said.
Another MacEwan student, who asked not to be named, said that they hoped that the protest would catch the attention of government officials, and convince them to retract support for Israel and provide humanitarian aid for those affected by the violence.
“I’m Muslim, and I feel that this conflict between Palestine and Israel doesn’t have anything to do with religion — doesn’t have to do with being Muslim or anything else. It’s just Israelis going and starting a genocide,” she said.
Photography by Thai Sirikoone.