Source: Facebook

Anti-Israel protesters blockaded a railway near Dundas Street and Dupont Street Tuesday to call for an immediate two-way arms embargo on Israel.

Organizers of the protest celebrated what they called a successful five-hour blockade of critical freight services from Canada to the U.S.

Four arrests were made and all those arrested were released on bail.

In a news release by the World Beyond War, a self-defined “global nonviolent movement,” Dalia Awwad, of the Palestinian Youth Movement said after months of organizing protests the government was not listening to their demands for a cease-fire and an arms embargo.

“We have no choice but to escalate, and stop the weapons being sent to and from Israel ourselves,” Awaad said.

In the article, the organization stated the actions aimed to “block the arteries of capitalism and disrupt business as usual in a global economic system that is facilitating Israel’s genocidal campaign on Gaza.”

“The majority of the world stands with Palestine, and today we are putting our bodies on the line again to demand that Canada does everything and anything to stop Israeli atrocities, starting with a two-way arms embargo on Israel,” Gur Tsabar with Jews Say No to Genocide Coalition said in the news release.

The move was meant to disrupt the critical infrastructure which allows weapon parts to be shipped into the US.

True North spoke to lawyer and independent journalist, Caryma Sa’d who covers the protest circuit in Canada. Her cameraman was on the scene to cover the blockade.

“I think at peak there were maybe 80 to 100 protesters. a lot of them were dressed in black bloc, meaning, you know, sunglasses, face covering. some wearing all black clothing to conceal identity,” Sa’d said.

Other protesters wore military fatigues.

“At the outset, there were a row of police on either side of the protesters on the track. and gradually more police reinforcements arrived and eventually moved in and pushed the protesters off of the track,” Sa’d said.

As the police advanced some protesters were seen pushing back against them.

Though the protests were against military violence, protesters levied accusations of state violence against police as well.

A lot of the protesters’ chants reflected, violence by police, alleged violence by police, police brutality,” Sa’d said. “It seemed to me that some of these activists were not shying away from direct confrontation with police. and in fact, we’re looking for that to happen.”Sa’d said some familiar organizers who often show up to these events were there too.

Awaad from Palestinian Youth Movement, members of “Jews say no to Genocide,” and Macdonald Scott, one of the organizers of the Movement Defence Committee, an organization that provides “legal support and training for activists in Toronto and beyond,” were all in attendance.

Scott is also one of the “Indigo 11” who were arrested in January for anti-Israeli vandalism, 

“I noticed Josh Chernofsky, who has an interesting trajectory. He’s a former Proud Boy turned black bloc anarchist. He in the time that I’ve been observing has swung from extremes on the political spectrum,” Sa’d said.

She thinks there are multiple driving factors to this protest.

“There are multiple motives at play, perhaps a shared ideology. but it is quite anti state,” she said. “Without opining on that being good or bad, my observation is that if we continue to see confrontations between police and civilians, given that police seem to only have two settings, stand by and do nothing or crack skulls, I worry about what this means for protesters and protests down the line. if there’s a depletion of goodwill,” she said.