July 16th, 2024

Local rally supports Palestinians in Gaza

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 16, 2023.

Demonstrators hold signs and repeat a series of chants as they attend a pro-Palestinian rally on Tuesday evening in front of city hall. The crowd gathered to call for a ceasefire of Israel's military operation in Gaza after an Oct. 7 attack by the militant group Hamas. Herald photo by Ian Martens

A pro-Palestinian rally at City Hall on Tuesday night was staged over the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

A poster for the rally stated “Stop the Genocide” and called for an end of funding for Israeli weapons.

The protest was associated with the Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group.

Media efforts to interview organizers including University of Lethbridge student Jessie Tollestrup were denied with organizers saying they weren’t interested in conversations with media.

Rally supporter Naji Saleah, who originates from the region, shared his understanding about the ongoing conflict.

“The war did not start on October 7, it’s been going on a daily basis. Sector Gaza is the biggest concentration camp, there is nothing that can get into sector Gaza, and nothing gets out of sector Gaza without permission from the Zionist state. There is a gate to sector Gaza that we have to get through. It’s been for 17 years now,” said Saleah.

During the rally a couple of speakers engaged with the crowd chanting to “free Palestinians.” Saleah said the government of Israel has taken away the rights of Gaza residents to defend themselves.

“The government of Israel strikes Gaza almost every week, on a weekly basis for no reasons. They claim there is a resistance or terrorists or whatever they claim that they are not happy with. And they give them themselves the right to self-defence,” but they don’t allow people he calls oppressed to defend themselves, Saleah said.

Several Lethbridge police officers watched the rally to ensure peace was maintained.

“We are designed as crowd management specialists. And we are because there’s a lot of protests, rallies demonstrations these days. And so we’re here to ensure that it’s peaceful and that everyone can have the right to peaceful assemblies. That’s our purpose,” said LPS Staff Sergeant Mike Williamson.

Saleah talked about the destruction and deaths that are ongoing in Gaza.

“Unfortunately, people don’t see anything on the news unless there’s something big happens like this. Now since October 7, up until now, more than 11,500 people were killed. . . two thirds of Gaza was destroyed to the ground. This is a genocide we are talking about,” said Saleah.

Chelsea Carson, another supporter, shared her frustration that Canada has not asked for a ceasefire.

“I just feel like I can’t sit back and watch our leaders do nothing when there’s a literal genocide happening in front of our eyes. I think the least that our leaders can do is call for a ceasefire. And the fact that they’re not and the fact that they’re still supporting the genocidal Israeli government is not OK with me,” said Carson.

“At the very least, I hope the Palestinians in Lethbridge know that we have their backs and that we are watching and we are seeing what’s happening and that we are demanding.”

Carson sees parallels between the situation in Gaza and colonialism in Canada.

“I think that especially as Canadians the more I learn about this genocide, the more I can see how it lines up with our own history of colonialism. And you know, what we now call Canada. I think it’s important to not only reflect on what’s happening now, but also our own history,” said Carson.

Supporter Grace Wirzba said coming out to the rally was important for her.

“I think it’s also important to come together as a community and see that other people are feeling the same way that you are, especially for our family and brothers and sisters that are from Gaza and from Palestine as well as from Israel,” said Wirzba.

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Hamas is a terrorist organization trained, funded and supplied by Iran and some other Arab countries such a Qatar. Hamas and Iran have been calling for the annihilation of Israel for decades, with the their Imam’s even telling their congressions to do so. That is genocide!
Gaza is a base for terrorism and tens of millions of UN funds have been used to build there over 500 kilometers of subterranean tunnels and rooms which often are under hospitals, schools, playgrounds, UN facilities and as we have seen, an amusement park.
The people of Gaza support Hamas, with polls showing over 90% support for Hamas!
Over the years I have watched the many terrorist attacks in Israel, mostly against unarmed civilians, including women and children and when Jews are killed, the people of Gaza celebrate in masses in the streets, handing out ‘sweets’ and even dancing that another Jew is dead. The most memorable was a mother and her daughters driving down a road and the mother and a duaghter were killed by gunfire. They had moved from England to live in Israel . . . the people in Gaza celebrated in the streets they were killed.
UNRWA textbooks in schools state the Jews have no right to live! The UN funds this and Israel has been complaining about this but the UN did nothing. Israel informed the UN that Hamas was building massive underground areas under UN facilities, hospitals and schools . . . the UN did nothing!
Hamas is a proxy of Iran with only one goal in mind! Anninilate the Jews!
The UN gave Israel the land in 1948! After 3 Arab nations attacked Israel, with Israel winning that war, most of the land gained by Israel was given back, except some small sections kept for security of the country.
Israel is not an occupier! They lived on that land long before the Arabs and long before the Muslims . . . thousands of years before! In fact, the gold doomed mosque on the Temple Mount was built on the base of the original Jerusalem built by the Jews! Many archaelogolical digs which are ongoing continue to prove the Jews were their first!
War is not a game, it is not performance event! People die! Blame the UN for its complete failure of performing its mandate!
The Palestinians and the people of Gaza support terrorism and allowed it to flourish around them, more so the Gazan’s!
No one understands how many attacks Israel has sustained in the past 2 years alone, and the massacre of civilians, the brutality that only demons from hell could employ and the taking of hostages, seniors, women, childrena and even a baby, crossed the line. And once again the people of Gaza celebrated in the streets and handed out sweets!
Israel has stated from the start they will not agree to a ceasefire unless all the hostages are returned . . . the hostages were not returned!
There are always some good people caught up in war and some die! It is war! I met many ‘good’ people in wartorn countries, but they also had blood on their hands!
This is just one more example of the complete failure of the United Nations, whose primary mandate is to prevent conflicts and another World War!
Technically, we are in a World War by definition. Rwanda, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Syria, Ukraine . . . all perfect examples of the complete failure of the UN . . . they can’t even get Haiti right! The humanitarian issues after the major earthquake in 2010 which is why their are so many issues there now!
Israel has to take out the subterranean infrastructure and Hamas to find peace from the Gazan’s! Tens of thousands of rockets, unguided have been fired into Israel in just the last 2 years, with no cares who they kill! They attack civilians constantly!
No one likes to see people die, everyone has a right to protect themselves! I do not like what is happening in Gaza, but I have watched for weeks where Israel has warned Gazan’s for move from and area that is going to be attacked. Hamas attacks without warning!
Another UN failure . . . more people dying!


Your ‘social media’ links are opinions and not facts!
In 1948 the United Nations granted the Jews the land and they have endured attack after attack by Palestinians, funded by Iran. They have a right to protect themselves and considered their size and the demographics of the Middle East, with attacks often coming from several areas, they have to use different measures and Canada, who is also under attack, but covertly!


I also watched the attacks on the Kibbutz’s and music rave, as well as the documented aftermath! Any human being who supports this is sick!

old school

Stop the genocide. ?? How about a call to stop supply of weapons to the perpetrators of this atrocity? If the scumbag Hamas terror group hadn’t started wholescale slaughter of innocents, then Israel would not have had to defend its people.