Several hundred people descended on Harbourside Park in downtown St. John’s this afternoon to denounce what they’re calling the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

The speakers, who requested that their names not be used, said the relentless bombing and now ground invasion by Israeli forces into Gaza is “an all-out attack” on Palestinians there, but also the West Bank and areas within Israel.

“We need to call this what it is; not a war, not a conflict, it’s a genocide,” said one woman, whose words spurred shouts of “shame!, shame!”

“Our purpose is clear. We demand justice for the Palestinian people, we demand an immediate ceasefire, we demand an end to the siege in Gaza, we demand a Canada-initiated arms embargo on the sale of weapons to Israel.”

The most recent uprising of conflict in the Middle East was triggered by the slaughter of more than 1,400 Israelis by Hamas militants on October 7.

Israeli forces have been retaliating ever since, killing thousands, many of them children, in the process.

Pressure is mounting on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a ceasefire. But he says that won’t happen until Hamas releases all 200-plus hostages who were taken back to Gaza during the October 7 surprise attack.

Today’s protest was just one of many across Canada and around the world as part of an international day of action calling for a ceasefire in the conflict.

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