Trudeau condemns ‘glorification of violence’ at protests celebrating Hamas attack on Israel

‘Hamas terrorists aren’t a resistance, they’re not freedom fighters, they are terrorists’

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Tuesday 10 October 2023 05:58 BST
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Gaza’s National Bank explodes after building hit by Israeli air strike

Justin Trudeau on Monday condemned the "glorification of violence" at rallies in support of Hamas across Canada as he expressed unwavering support for Israel.

The prime minister attended a solidarity rally for Israel in Ottawa where he met the Jewish community and spoke against the Hamas militant group.

"The glorification of death and violence and terror has no place anywhere including especially here in Canada," he said at the gathering.

"Hamas terrorists aren’t a resistance, they’re not freedom fighters, they are terrorists. And no one in Canada should be supporting them, much less celebrating them," Mr Trudeau added, according to the Globe and Mail.

He reiterated Canada's support for Israel and its right to defend itself in "accordance with the international law". "We stand with you tonight, tomorrow and everyday."

At least 900 people have been killed in Israel after Hamas launched a surprise attack on the country, firing over 2,500 rockets on Saturday. Israel in retaliation rained rockets and declared a complete siege on the Gaza Strip, cutting off electricity, food and fuel.

In Gaza, at least 687 Palestinians have been killed and 3,726 wounded in Israeli air strikes, the health authorities said.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators participate in a rally in Toronto

Mr Trudeau condemned the demonstrations that had taken place across the country in "support of Hamas's attack on Israel" in a separate social media post.

"Let's stand against acts of terror," he added.

Canada over the weekend had condemned Hamas's "brutal terror attack", and called for the immediate release of those being held hostage by the militant groups.

While multiple competing rallies were taken out amid the Israel war, a group of 1,000 protesters gathered in a demonstration in Toronto organised by a group called the Palestinian Youth Movement.

Palestinians look at the aftermath of an Israeli air strike on Gaza City

Mona Ayesh, a 46-year-old Palestinian-Canadian woman, who attended the Toronto protest, condemned the Israeli occupation of West Bank and noted Gazans have lived under an Israeli-led blockade for 16 years. "The illegal Israeli occupation has to end in order for this violence that happened to end," she told Reuters.

Mohammed Deif, the shadowy leader of Hamas’s military wing, has said the assault named “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm” was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, the Israeli occupation, and a series of recent provocations – including at Al-Aqsa mosque – which have brought tensions to fever pitch.

Toronto mayor Olivia Chow denounced the demonstrations, arguing they were unsanctioned. "The government of Canada has rightly listed Hamas as a terrorist organisation," the mayor added.

But Toronto police deputy chief Lauren Pouge said the police respected the right to free speech while being against hate speech or speech glorifying violence.

Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike on Gaza City

Canadian province Ontario's premier Doug Ford also said "hate rallies celebrating the kidnapping and slaughtering of innocent Israeli people by terrorists are reprehensible and disgusting".

Canada has asked its citizens in Israel to "shelter in place", foreign minister Melanie Joly said. She said 2,500 Canadians have registered with the embassy in Israel and 500 have registered with the mission for West Bank and Gaza.

"Right now, the advice is to shelter in place," Ms Joly told broadcaster CTV. "So, we’ll continue to follow the local authorities’ security advice. At the same time, we’re looking at what can be done and working with allies on this very issue."

The “Quint” group – which includes the US, France, Germany, the UK and Italy – announced its "steadfast and united support" to Israel in a statement on Tuesday.

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