Over 20,000 in Toronto demand "Ceasefire Now!"

Over 25,000 in Toronto demand “Ceasefire Now!”

November 5, 2023 | by Barry Weisleder

A fourth consecutive week of large demonstrations in Toronto condemned the Zionist state onslaught against residents of Gaza and the West Bank. On November 4 shortly after 2 p.m. in Toronto, more than 25,000 people marched north on University Avenue from the U.S. Consulate, paused at the foot of the Ontario Legislature grounds at Queen’s Park, and proceeded along College Street, then south on Bay Street, past City Hall and concluded with a sit-in at Bay and Wellington in the heart of the financial district. The crowd began to dissipate around 9 p.m. A statement by the Palestinian Youth Movement, which organized the event, demanded that Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow apologize “for maligning the Toronto Palestinian community and call for an immediate ceasefire” by the Israeli military.

Dalia Awwad, speaking for the PYM, told CP24 that they are calling for a ceasefire. “If Israel’s refusing to abide by the requests for a ceasefire, Canada can stop selling arms to Israel. The US can stop selling arms to Israel, and so really make it difficult for them to continue to bombard civilians,” she said.

Prior to the start of the march on University Avenue, Sarah Jama, MPP for Hamilton Center, addressed the crowd from her wheelchair on the road beside a huge sound truck. She called for an end to the occupation of Palestinian lands for the past 75 years. Jama, now an Independent MPP, was expelled from the NDP caucus of MPPs on October 25 by ONDP Leader Marit Stiles for speaking up for Palestinian rights, just minutes before Conservative Premier Doug Ford and his Tory majority at Queen’s Park voted to censure Jama, thus denying her the right to speak on behalf of her constituents inside the provincial assembly.

Socialist Action marched with a popular large green cloth banner proclaiming “Smash Israeli Apartheid – Free Palestine”. SA members distributed hundreds of copies of its leaflet titled “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free” and sold over 200 buttons emblazoned with the slogan “End the Occupation. Free Palestine.”

The NDP Socialist Caucus, the organized left wing in the party, demands that MPP Sarah Jama be reinstated immediately to the NDP caucus, and failing that, a review of the leadership of Marit Stiles be swiftly conducted.