On July 4, 2020 the “DAY of RAGE – No to Annexation Rally” took place in front of the Israeli Consulate in Toronto (Yonge and Bloor). The protest was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), Arab Palestine Association Of Ontario, Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Campuses for Palestine – C4P, Actions4Palestine and Toronto BDS Network.
Among the speakers at the rally were Rawan Habib – activist with the student movement and the campaign for decent work, including at York University, Zadar, Audrey Huntley – documentary filmmaker and community researcher, Rajean Hoilett – Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator at Scarborough Campus Student Union, Chandni Desai – Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Leen Amarin – researcher with Canadian Centre on Statelessness, Moe Alqasem – organizer in the Palestine solidarity movement, Ali Mallah – founding member of Al-Quds Day in Toronto, Nour El Kadri – President of the Canadian Arab Federation and Nabil Nassar – representative of Fatah movement in Canada.
Protesters waved the Palestine and Socialist Action flags, no Canadian flags were present and held signs that read:
- No justice on stolen land. Free Palestine
- From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea Palestine will be free
- Canada Day? Canada shame!
- From Tuttle Island to Palestine occupation is a CRIME
- Canada: Stealing land for 153 years
- Israel Day? Israel Shame!
- RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police], IDF [Israel Defense Forces], TPS [Toronto Police Service], OPP [Ontario Provincial Police] = Colonial Genocide
- Defund RCMP and Police now
- Defund IDF
- No justice, no peace. Defund the Police
- ̶C̶a̶n̶a̶d̶a̶ ̶I̶s̶r̶a̶e̶l̶ no peace on stolen land
Here is Rajean Hoilett’s speech:
Dismantle. [Crowd:] Abolish. Defund, disarm, dismantle. [Crowd:] Abolish. Defund, disarm, dismantle. [Crowd:] Abolish. My name is Rajean [Hoilett – Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator at Scarborough Campus Student Union]. I’m so so so honoured to be here with you. I’m here on behalf of the Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project. We’re here standing in solidarity, because we know there are movements for abolition [of Police]. It’s not just here in Toronto. It’s not just across Turtle Island [Canada]. It continues until Palestine is free [Crowd cheering]. The movement for abolition [of Police] is inspired by this resistance. It is inspired by the unwavering commitment to protect Palestinians, to protect Palestine to end state violence and to challenge White supremacy wherever it is [Crowd cheering]. We are here because we know that our oppressors, the same ones who are jailing us, they are patrolling our streets, are taking notes from the Israeli Defense Force [IDF] and Israel [Crowd: shame]. We know they teach each other, that they share their tactics, that they use the same tactics to colonize this land and to build prisons [Crowd: shame]. The [unintelligible] told you, or if they don’t know, now they know, we’re sharing notes. We are working together from Palestine to Turtle Island [Canada] freedom for all [Crowd cheering]. Over the last few weeks abolition has become quite sexy. Is it cosmopolitan we’re talking about. We’re here and we think some people are confused. Some people think that we want a 10% reduction so they trim services. Is that what we want? [Crowd: no]. We’re talking [about] the abolition of these pigs [derogatory term to describe the Police][Crowd: yes]. We’re talking the abolition of prisons [Crowd cheering]. We’re talking about free Palestine [Crowd cheering]. Not tomorrow, not next month, not after another review. Now! [Crowd cheering]. Between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are detained every year [Crowd: shame]. Rawan [Habib] just told us that Israel is a carceral state. 02:34 That is what it looks like. We are demanding freedom to all prisoners, including Palestinian prisoners [Crowd cheering]. We will not stop until Gaza is free. Gaza is the greatest open air prison in the world. Shame! [Crowd cheering]. Think about it y’all. This is what revolution feels like. This what it looks like. We are standing here together. We are standing with each other and I, repeat after me [Crowd repeating chants]: I, I believe, I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win. Black lives they matter here. Black lives they matter here. Palestinian lives they matter here. Palestinian lives they matter here. Prisoners lives they matter here. Prisoners lives they matter here. And will you stop until we get freedom? [Crowd: no]. Will you stop until we get freedom? [Crowd: no]. No justice, [Crowd: no peace]. No justice, [Crowd: no peace]. No justice, [Crowd: no peace].
On July 4, 2020 Rawan Habib Moe Alqasem, who led the protest, published a joint article titled “Unity in rage: a call to solidarity for Palestine and beyond.” In this article Habib and Alqasem wrote:
United in our rage, we will have the ability to re-imagine a new world: a world free of White Supremacy and settler colonialism, a world free of the prison industrial complex and police, a world free of state violence against marginalized bodies.
Rawan Habib led the Crowd in chanting: Viva viva Palestina. Viva, viva intifada.
Background on the Palestinian “Intifada”
The First Intifada (aka the Stone Intifada) started in December 1987 and included violent confrontations with Israeli forces, roadblocks, ambushes, throwing stones/ rocks/ metal rods/ Molotov cocktails at Israeli military and civilian vehicles, stabbing attacks, sabotage operations, setting fires to forests, agricultural and industrial facilities, shooting attacks.
The Second Intifada (aka al-Aqsa Intifada) which started in September 2000) included among other violent activities many hundreds of suicide bombing attacks, thousands of shooting attacks, launching rockets and mortar shells at Israeli communities, firing RPG rockets, planting explosives charges and mines.
The Third Intifada (aka the al-Quds Intifada or the Knife Intifada) started in autumn 2015. Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides the following data on the the ongoing wave of violence (13 September 2015 – 07 May 2017):
The recent series of attacks against Israelis is the direct result of incitement by radical Islamist and terrorist elements, calling on Palestinian youth to murder Jews. Twenty months of terror – to the present. In 2016, 12 vehicular ramming attacks and 100 stabbing attacks were thwarted by security forces. Since 13 September 2015, 49 people have been killed in terrorist attacks and 731 people (including 4 Palestinians) injured. There have been 177 stabbing attacks and 117 attempted stabbings; 144 shootings; 58 vehicular (ramming) attacks; and one vehicular (bus) bombing.
Palestinian sources provide the following statistical data on the Intifada:
|Third Intifada (October – December 2015)|
|Shooting attacks||Stabbing attacks||Vehicular ramming attacks||Explosive charges/ Molotiv cocktails||Throwing stones/ rocks/ objects||Launching rockets from Gaza||Launching rockets from Lebanon|
|73||74 attacks and 44 attempts||19||848||2840||22||9|
|Third Intifada (January – December 2016)|
|119||50 attacks and 117 attempts||10||871||2212||44||24|
|Third Intifada (January – May 7, 2017)|