Mass demonstration in Vancouver commemorates 75 years of Nakba and resistance

Samidoun Vancouver joined with the Palestinian Youth Movement, Canada Palestine Association, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights UBC and the International League of People’s Struggle to commemorate the ongoing Nakba since 1948 on Sunday, 14 May 2023. Hundreds participated in a mass popular march from the Vancouver Art Gallery in the center of downtown to the U.S. consulate, through busy streets crowded with shoppers on a sunny spring day. The rally denounced Zionist, U.S. and Canadian policies toward Palestine, expressed solidarity with the Palestinian resistance and affirmed the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. Marchers chanted slogans in Arabic, English and French in support of the resistance, against the Zionist aggression on Gaza, and for the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea.

The demonstration was joined by a multigenerational crowd who waved Palestinian flags and carried banners reading: “Generation after generation until total liberation,” and “Free Palestine: Resistance, Return, Liberation. Participants carried posters of the leaders of the prisoners’ movement, including the imprisoned struggler Walid Daqqah, the Lebanese communist imprisoned in France Georges Abdallah, the martyr of the hunger strike, Khader Adnan, and the imprisoned leader Ahmad Sa’adat, as well as of the martyrs of the Battle of the Revenge of the Free in Gaza.

Palestinian activist Nadia spoke on behalf of Samidoun Vancouver, emphasizing the need to support the prisoners in occupation jails and particularly highlighting the isolation imposed on leaders of the prisoners’ movement, Ahmad Sa’adat and his comrades Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh and Walid Hanatsheh. She noted that the prisoners’ movement had launched a one-day strike in solidarity to demand an end to isolation and the freedom of imprisoned writer and freedom fighter, Walid Daqqah, battling for his life and suffering from a rare cancer, myelofibrosis. He has spent over 37 years in occupation prisons, has completed his regular sentence, and is unable to receive proper treatment in occupation prisons.

She concluded her speech by expressing solidarity with Palestinians in Germany confronting repression at the hands of the state, particularly in Berlin. The Berlin police banned demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and commemorations of the Nakba. She read out a message from Samidoun comrades in Berlin, calling for solidarity and participation in the campaign to expose German racism and complicity in crimes against the Palestinian people.

Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat spoke on behalf of the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement. Barakat began his speech by expressing solidarity with the Indigenous people of the land struggling against settler colonialism, and emphasizing the need to build collective solidarity. He spoke about the failure of the Zionist project to break the will of the Palestinian people over the years since 1948, and emphasized the unity of Palestinian and Arab resistance forces for the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea. He urged all present to take a clear position against Zionism and the existence of the Zionist regime and to stand with the resistance in Palestine and Lebanon, including campaigning to remove Palestinian and Lebanese resistance organizations from the so-called “terrorist entities” list in Canada.

He also emphasized the need to reject the illusion of the so-called “two-state solution,” emphasizing that the Palestinian people today are rallying around the path of armed resistance throughout occupied Palestine. He declared that the approach of the Canadian government and its prime minister Justin Trudeau, consistently supporting the occupation against the Palestinian people, was unacceptable and must be overturned.

Hanna Kawas, the chair of the Canada Palestine Association, said in the closing speech at the U.S. consulate that Canada was involved in the establishment of the Zionist project in Palestine and therefore in the Nakba. Its governments participated in this crime before and after 1948, he noted. He urged the continuation and expansion of boycott campaigns against the Zionist regime and its products and complicit companies, and stopping all forms of normalization and liquidation that undermine the Palestinian and Arab cause.

The demonstration in Vancouver came alongside others in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and other mass rallies in Canada, widely attended by Arab and Palestinian communities, solidarity movements and boycott committees, expressing support for the boycott of Israel, the right of Palestinians to resist and the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea, and, first and foremost, the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, villages and cities from which they were forcibly displaced.

Photos: Michael YC Tseng