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‘We don’t want to see anybody hurt’: Weekend rallies in Winnipeg support both sides of Israeli/Hamas conflict

Palestinian and Israeli groups clashed outside of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Sunday, projecting their stances on the Israel-Hamas war.

Shouts from the two groups bumped up against each other as Israel Asper Way acted as a barrier between the two. 

“Yes hummus, no Hamas,” chanted the pro-Israel group with Winnipeg’s downtown behind their backs – while the Palestinian group chanted “Free free Palestine” in front of the museum.

Sunday was the second day of protesting from both Palestinian and Israeli groups in Winnipeg. A large Palestinian gathering Saturday outside of the Manitoba Legislative Building demanded more humanitarian aid for people in Gaza. A small group of Israel supporters stood on the other side of the street in opposition.

On Sunday, Ron East with the Canadian Israeli Council said they are not protesting against Palestinians.

“We are against Hamas and Islamic Jihad and against terrorism,” East said. “What Israel is doing right now in Gaza is trying to make sure that we eradicate Hamas and Islamic Jihad for the benefit of both our communities.”

Ramsey Zeid – head of the Canadian Palestinian Association of Manitoba, says innocent Palestinians caught in the conflict in Gaza are being killed.

“They want to live life like everybody else. This is not a conflict against Israel and Hamas. This is a conflict with Israel against innocent civilians,” Zeid said. “We want to raise awareness of what’s happening. We want everyone to know the genocide that’s happening in Palestine, the atrocities that’s happening in Palestine.”

Zeid says Palestinian businesses in Winnipeg are being boycotted.

East says the tensions in Winnipeg are, on a smaller scale, comparable to the rallies happening in the Middle East.

“Here in Winnipeg our safety is paramount both for the Palestinian community and the Jewish community,” East said. “We don’t want to see anybody get hurt here because of what’s happening back home.”

Zeid says there will be more rallies in the future.

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