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Photo: Andrew Wilimek/Fulcrum
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Student, community protesters gather at City Hall before proceeding to Tabaret Lawn

U of O pro-Palestinian protesters joined members of the community outside of Ottawa City Hall Tuesday morning to rally against the Israeli flag raising at around 9:30 a.m.. The usually public flag-raising ceremony was cancelled this year, but Israeli supporters still showed up just before noon to commemorate the 76th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence.

Hordes of police officers and police liaisons were on site to separate the protesters, who were also split by metal barriers.

Both groups held short remembrance ceremonies. Along with singing the country’s national anthem, pro-Palestinian protesters were encouraged to take off one shoe and point it at the waving Israeli flag in memory of the Nakba — when Palestinians were expulsed en masse from their homes and land by Israelis in 1948 — the anniversary of which the group will commemorate tomorrow.

On the other side of the barriers, pro-Israel supporters released yellow balloons just after 12 p.m., which have come to symbolize the approximately 253 Israeli hostages taken by Hamas during their attacks on Oct. 7, of which over 100 have been returned.

Israeli supporters also sang both Israel’s and Canada’s national anthems, along with chants such as “bring them [the hostages] home,” to which a pro-Palestinian protester responded, “how do you expect to bring them home when you’re bombing them?”

Pro-Palestinian protesters directed chants across the barriers such as “all the Zionists are racists”, “leave Palestine and go back to Europe”, “we don’t want two states, take us back to ‘48”, and “money for health and education, not for bombs and occupation.”

At around 1 p.m., about 100 pro-Palestinian protesters, including students and community members, made their way to Tabaret Lawn, where the U of O’s encampment has entered its third week, where they gathered to listen to speakers on the steps of Tabaret Hall.

A portion of these protesters stuck around for the day’s program, which included poster-making, prayers, and a Palestinian flag-raising ceremony in the evening. 

At 6:30 p.m., Dr. Nahla Abdo —a professor at Carleton University who studies settler-colonialism and decolonization — spoke about colonialism, imperialism, and Palestinian history for just under an hour. 

Abdo discussed how capitalism exploits both Indigenous peoples of different lands and its own citizens. “Don’t think that Israel, which turned itself into a Jewish state, was really about Judaism,” said Abdo.

“It was not about the Jewish people. It was from the very beginning, an imperialist venture In other words, it is there as… …a base for American imperialism — actually, it was European imperialism at the beginning.”

Abdo finished the teach-in by talking about the Nakba. “My definition of the Nakba is the genocide that started before 1948 and [has] continued until 2024.” 

Organizers will meet with the U of O’s chief investment officer, Francois Dionne, on Wednesday at 2 p.m as part of negotiations to push the university to divest from Israeli-linked businesses. Following the meeting, they will hold a press conference on Tabaret Lawn at 4 p.m.Follow the Fulcrum on Twitter for updates. You can also find the Fulcrum’s previous coverage here.

  • protest with banner
  • Protesters holding up one of their shoes
  • protester speaking at city hall
  • banner saying judaism is not israeli nationalism
  • man holding sign saying Hamas targets Jews
  • man holding israel and canadian flags on hockey sticks
  • protest with banner
  • protest with banner
  • U of O employee washes chalk off of Tabaret Hall

Authors

  • Andrew was the sports editor for 2023-2024 and was took over as co-EIC in April. He is in his fourth year of a Commerce degree, with an option in Business Tech Management.

  • Andrew was the sports editor for 2023-2024 and was took over as co-EIC in April. He is in his fourth year of a Commerce degree, with an option in Business Tech Management.

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