Montreal Protests in Solidarity with Palestinian Worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Beatings at Al-Aqsa Mosque During Ramadan Sparked Outrage Among Montreal’s Devastated Palestinian Community

Protester holds a sign reading “Hands Off Al-Aqsa.” Photo Hiyam Barakat
Protesters gathered at the Guy-Concordia metro station and chanted for Palestinian liberation. Photo Hiyam Barakat

Dozens of Montrealers took to the streets in protest of the recent attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. 

On April 5, Israeli occupation forces brutalized Muslim worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan. For Palestinians, the deliberate destruction of the Mosque during Ramadan has become an annual occurrence. During the attack, over 400 Palestinians were detained.

This year, videos of occupying forces beating worshippers with batons and riffles inside the mosque have gone viral, sparking protests across Canada. Montreal’s protest garnered a lot of attention as it was a collaborative effort between Palestinian Youth Movement, Montreal 4 Palestine, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) McGill and Concordia. 

“Every year the occupation raids and prevents worshippers from praying, but also will kick out worshipers, and will attack them with batons, rifles, and rubber-coated bullets.” said Noor, one of the organizers who did not want to be named for privacy reasons. 

SPHR member Moad explained “We all decided that we wanted to have a protest to show that we don't stand with what the Israeli government is doing. Our universities, our governments support a lot of what the Israeli government does…We don’t stand for what’s happening.” 

The public outrage and common grief amongst the Palestinian community of Montreal was felt through their chants and waving flags. “Solidarité! Avec! Avec! Avec la Palestine!” The crowd chanted as they approached the Israeli Consulate after marching for almost two hours from the Guy-Concordia metro station. 

“We wanted to make our voices heard and support our fellow Palestinians back home that are dying and fighting for their rights, and our rights, to have a free Palestine,” said Moad. 

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” The crowd chanted after Mahmoud Khalil, one of the Montreal 4 Palestine organizers, as he led them through the streets of downtown Montreal.  

“When I'm standing in front of them and facing them, I can see a lot of unfamiliar faces. That's always great to see, that’s always beautiful. This is the number one humanitarian case in all the world. So, it's great to see humans come together for humanity and stand together,” Khalil recalled as he stood in front of the crowd of protesters. 

He also voiced his condemnation of the Canadian government’s actions towards the attack on Palestinians. “It's always good to voice our rejection of the Canadian government as an ally to Israel. It's sad to see the Canada that stands for human rights actually always turns a blind eye to human rights when it comes to their ally Israel, and always be complicit in the murder and genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.”

After collectively vowing to always support Palestine, the protesters ended their long march in time for Muslims to break their fast for the day.