Local march for peace in Gaza continues as death toll rises

Josh Pennell Josh.pennell@thetelegram.com
Published on August 6, 2014

Strength came in numbers Tuesday night.

Despite having only half as many supporters marching on the St. John’s waterfront as were present 10-days ago in support of ending the fighting in Gaza, the message rang loud and clear. The crowd on hand yelled its message twice as loud to make up for the loss of numbers.

“We were hoping we wouldn’t have to do another rally, another march,” Mohamad El Bakri said through a loudspeaker as the crowd again warmed up with protest chants before marching down Water Street and up Duckworth.

When the first local march for peace in Gaza took place 10 days ago, there had been an estimated 700 casualties. Close to 2,000 are now estimated to be dead, many of those Palestinian civilians.

The Gaza Strip, and the people living there, have found themselves caught in a fight between Hamas and Israel.

As Israel bombs Hamas militants, Palestinian civilians are making up a disproportionately large number of the casualties. Israel is facing growing criticism for its mass bombing of innocent civilians while its enemy goes practically unscathed.

At Harbourside Park, it was the young and the adults who asked people to keep in mind that while they may support Israel’s intention to fight Hamas, they should take a closer look at its tactics.

Abdullah Shahwan, 9,  from the Gaza Strip, addressed the crowd as El Bakri held the microphone for him. The hundreds of children just like him living in that part of the world have fallen victim to the war.  

They were in his thoughts.

“These children died sleeping, playing and running for their lives,” he said, adding they deserved to live a safe and happy life.

El Bakri led the march and chants, shouting through a loudspeaker, his voice cracking as the crowd continued to yell in protest of what they called a massacre of innocent people in the Gaza Strip.

“From St. John’s to Palestine, occupation is a crime” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” were two lines the crowd bellowed.

The peace march for Gaza took place just as a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect. Another such ceasefire agreement between both sides prior to this ended mere hours after it began.