Around 150 people gathered in Kelowna’s Stuart Park to rally for Palestine on Sunday.
Demonstrators gathered to condemn violence against Palestinians and called on the federal government to stop selling weapons to Israel.
The event organizer, Debbie Hubbard, said the cause holds a place in her heart for many reasons. In 2014, Hubbard was based in east Jerusalem as a human rights observer and she said she saw first-hand the violence people in Palestine face.
“Once you witness what they have been going through, you can’t help but use your voice,” Hubbard told the Capital News.
Sunday, she represented Amnesty International and the Canadian for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), Okanagan chapter.
“It’s a time to take a stance and engage the Okanagan,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard says Kelowna residents can learn more about the violence happening against Palestinians by visiting the CJPME website.
“I think we should care because we are human and we are all citizens of the world,” Hubbard said. “Our government is spending money and supporting Israel, allowing recruitment for the Israeli army. As long as there is any unrest in any part of the world, in particular the Middle East, it impacts us.”
Sunday’s rally saw people of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, and religions. Speakers focused on human rights and international laws and how they affect the people of Palestine while the crowd listened intently.
Hubbard said that at the end of the rally, many Muslim Canadians walked up to her and expressed their gratitude to see the the support from the Kelowna community.
“That’s the Canada that I dream we could be. I’m just grateful that people are open to learning more,” she said.
On Saturday, May 15, a similar rally was held for Palestine. It began outside of Kelowna-Lake Country Conservative MP Tracy Gray’s downtown office and ended with a march down St. Paul Street towards Bernard Avenue before looping back to Gray’s office building.