A woman holds a Palestinian flag in front of City Hall in Calgary on Sunday, April 24, 2022. Calgarians protested the Israeli raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the protest was organized by Leiagh Hajji, who runs the non-for-profit called Rights for Humanity. There were between 30-50 people in attendance. (Alejandro Melgar/The Emery Weal)

Calgarians protested in front of City Hall against the acts of violence the Israeli government committed against Palestinians.

This started after learning that the Israeli police entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem where they injured 30 Palestinians on the morning of April 22. 

Calgarians saw those acts as injustices and protested to get their government to put pressure on the international community.

“Israel has committed a war crime when they attacked the Palestinian people who were peacefully worshipping within the mosque,” said Leiagh Hajji, the main organizer behind the protest.

“We’re standing here today to show that the Palestinian people in Canada and all the pro-Palestinians within Calgary are standing with Palestine.”

There were between 30-50 Calgarians chanting “Palestine will be free” in front of City Hall.

Calgarians stand at the Israeli raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque protest in front of City Hall in Calgary on Sunday, April 24, 2022. The protest was organized by Leiagh Hajji, who also runs the non-for-profit called Rights for Humanity. (Alejandro Melgar/The Emery Weal)

Continued conflict around the world

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is a worshipping ground for the three Abrahamic religions, and is a holy site for inhabitants in the East Jerusalem region.

Hajji wants to show Calgarians that there are injustices that still need to be recognized by the international community.

All of this is happening while the Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen over 5 million refugees fleeing the country.

However, Hajji also reminded people of the accusations of crimes against humanity towards the Uighur’s in China, the crisis in Afghanistan, and the economic crisis in Venezuela.

“We are pro-Ukraine, and when the world saw what Russia was doing to Ukraine, we stood in solidarity,” Hajji said.

 “When Israel does the same thing to the Palestinian people, there’s no response from the international community.”

Voices united

There will be a protest on May 14 called “Voices United Together in Humanity,” where the group wishes to bring awareness to all the conflicts around the world.

“We want to get people within Calgary to build a community where we stop siloing ourselves off to certain causes,” Hajji said.

“To stand together in support of the humanitarian cause, which is just the right to live without fear of terror, without fear of oppression, and to live the life that everyone’s entitled to.”

The protest was organized by Hajji’s non-for-profit Rights for Humanity, and the May 14 protest will be at 3 p.m.

“I also want to take a moment to remind everyone that this is not a religious war. Not the Muslim Palestinians versus Jewish Israelis. We’re not against any religion,” Hajji said while speaking to the crowd.

“We have the power to make a difference if we come together to unite.”

The group crossed Macleod Trail onto Stephen Ave at the request of Calgary Police and stayed in front of City Hall.

The injunction that was granted on March 18 has remained in effect.

Leiagh Hajji speaks into a megaphone in front of City Hall in Calgary on Sunday, April 24, 2022. The protest was about the Israeli raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque and was organized Hajji, who also runs the non-for-profit called Rights for Humanity. (Alejandro Melgar/The Emery Weal)

Alejandro Melgar is a second-year graduating student in the online-print journalism stream. He is the editor-in-chief of The Emery Weal and contributor. You can find his work on LiveWire Calgary and on his website here.

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