Pro-Palestinian activists hold Hamilton vigil for war victims ahead of national protests


Published November 3, 2023 at 10:54 pm

Hamilton Palestine vigil Israel-Hamas war Hamilton 4 Palestine pro-Palestinian vigil Lucia Iannantuono

People in support of Palestinians in Gaza held a candlelight vigil at Hamilton City Hall on Friday night ahead of this weekend’s nationwide demonstrations calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

“Speakers from 3 faiths came together tonight, communities side by side,” wrote Lucia Iannantuono, a former Ontario Greens candidate for the Hamilton Centre byelection, on the social media platform X. “Praying together, mourning together, calling together for peace. Their unity brings hope.”

People at the vigil honoured the Palestinian victims of the war, including more than 3,600 Palestinian children reportedly killed.  

“We will not let our martyrs be forgotten and go down as part of a tally,” read Hamilton 4 Palestine’s social media post for the event. “This will be a time of reflection and grief.”

Hamilton 4 Palestine describes itself as a grassroots organization focused on the Palestinian diaspora and “oppressed voices.”

The group plans a rally Sunday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. in front of Hamilton City Hall to “call for an end to the ongoing genocide in Gaza, Palestine.”

Thirty demonstrations for a national day of action — called the 100K March for Gaza in some cities — are planned in Toronto and other cities, but not Hamilton, on Saturday, Nov. 4. The protests will call for an immediate ceasefire, lifting the siege on Gaza to allow for immediate medical aid and “an end to Canada’s funding of Israel’s war crimes, genocide, and colonization of Palestinian land,” according to a social media post by Hamilton 4 Palestine.

At least 1,400 Israelis and more than 9,200 people in Gaza – mostly civilians – have reportedly been killed in the growing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The war erupted after Palestinian militant group Hamas, labelled a terrorist entity in Canada and many countries, massacred civilians on Oct. 7 in southern Israel and took over 200 Israelis as hostages. Israel responded with airstrikes and a ground invasion, which pro-Palestinian supporters and Palestinians call a “genocide” of Palestinians in Gaza.

Israeli authorities and pro-Israel advocates deny that accusation, saying the state has the right to defend itself and root out Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Israel and the United Nations say Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as “human shields.” 

The United Nations has launched an investigation on the conflict, saying there is “clear evidence that war crimes may have been committed” by both sides since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and Israel’s retaliatory military action.

The growing crisis in Gaza has compelled a group of seven independent United Nations experts to release a statement Thursday (Nov. 2), calling for a “humanitarian ceasefire” and warning that “the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide.”

Palestine pro-Palestinian vigil at Hamilton City Hall Gaza Israel-Hamas war

People write words of love and support for Palestinian victims of war during a vigil at Hamilton City Hall on Nov. 3. @ACCIDENTALBLUES VIA X

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