REPORT FROM STATELESS AND DEPORTED: A POPULAR MOBILIZATION AGAINST DEPORTATION OF PALESTINIANS FROM CANADA
On Saturday September 18th more than 1,000 people took the streets of downtown Montreal under the banner of “Stateless and Deported” to illustrate the growing popular support for the struggle of Palestinian refugees fighting deportation in Canada, within the context of the Palestinian solidarity movement worldwide. The lively and spirited demonstration was also held to commemorate the thousands of Palestinian refugees who lost their lives in the September 1982 massacre of Sabra and Chatila during the Israeli invasion of Beirut.
The demonstration kicked-off with speeches, slogans and traditional Palestinian music and proceeded down Ste-Catherine Street, occupying multiple city blocks in Montreal’s downtown core, lead by a large banner which read “Refugee Camps are No One’s Home”, carried by directly effected Palestinian refugees facing deportation at the hands of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), to the Occupied Territories and the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon.
Spirited chants and slogans such as “Racists Out! - Palestinians In!”, resonated throughout the streets of downtown Montreal and were lead-by directly effected Palestinian refugees active with the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, such as Fouad Sakr an elderly Palestinian refugee facing deportation in the coming months to Ein El-Helweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon and Youssef Elloubani a Palestinian refugee from Bourj El Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut.
The demonstration was diverse in nature and included visible support of many self-organized groups of refugees fighting deportation in Montreal, who are active with the Solidarity Across Borders Campaign. The demonstration also included the full-scope of groups who have been active within the Palestinian solidarity movement in Montreal since the beginning of the second Intifada, highlighting the seamless link between the struggle of Palestinian refugees in Montreal against deportations and the broader struggle for Palestinian freedom and liberation throughout the world. Saturday’s demonstration ended at Complexe Guy-Favreau, headquarters of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) —- the institution directly responsible for the rejection of Palestinian refugee claims —- with a free food serving from local Montreal activists and speeches from groups & organizations which actively mobilized for the demonstration, including Sanjiv Kumar of the recently formed Human Rights Action Committee (HARC), Bruce Katz of Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine, Hicham Salfiti of the Canadian Palestinian Foundation and Rabie Masri the spokesperson of the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees.
This past Saturday’s demonstration highlighted the political importance of the struggle of Palestinian refugees in Montreal and throughout Canada who continue to struggle against deportation and fight for their status. It is within this context that the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees plans to intensify the fight against Citizenship and Immigration Canada in the coming months. We must continue to stand united in the struggle against the deportation of Palestinian refugees from Canada!
The Coalition against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees in Montreal can be reached via Tel: 514 591 3171, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: http://refugees.resist.ca. To view pictures, reports and video on the Stateless & Deported demonstration produced by the Independent Media Center of Quebec (CMAQ), visit: http://www.cmaq.net. Canadian photographer Darren Ell can be reached via email@example.com.