Thousands in Toronto took to the streets on Saturday to march in pro-Palestinian rallies in hopes of a ceasefire, as the Israel-Hamas war rages on.
In clips shared to social media, protesters can be seen marching while chanting demands like "free, free Palestine." Demonstrators holding Palestinian flags and handmade signs eventually made their way to the U.S. Consulate on University Avenue near Queen Street.
One clip posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, by the Palestinian Youth Movement called on Toronto mayor Olivia Chow to reflect on her past comments regarding prior rallies and the war.
"We will not move from the streets of Toronto until Olivia Chow apologizes for dehumanizing comments about our protests, and until she calls for a ceasefire!" the group wrote in their post, which included a video where protesters call for "shame."
— Palestinian Youth Movement (@palyouthmvmt) November 5, 2023
Social media users posted footage from other marches and demonstrations, including a sit-in and an Islamic prayer on Bay Street in downtown Toronto.
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) November 4, 2023
— Camila (@camilapress) November 4, 2023
Thousands of protesters marched through downtown Toronto today calling for an immediate ceasefire and a free Palestine. pic.twitter.com/k5Waw71M60
— بسنت عماد الدين عبدالمنعم محمود مطر (@Pacinthe) November 4, 2023
Toronto yesterday. In awe of how many people showed up. We won't be silenced. pic.twitter.com/tr7Yi6ngyB
— audra (@audragabrielle_) November 5, 2023
Ceasefire NOW! In Toronto
— Palestine Info Center (@palinfoen) November 5, 2023
— Jody (Free Palestine) (@jody_showdy) November 4, 2023
my baba (born in jaffa palestine, before the state of israel even existed) at the toronto protest yesterday: pic.twitter.com/zIf1VxaKAu
— jo (@callmejo____) November 5, 2023
— Khalid H (@khalidthesalad) November 4, 2023
According to the Toronto Star, more than 25,000 protesters filled Toronto's downtown core on Saturday. However, it wasn't the only city in Canada where thousands of people took to the streets to make their voices heard. The Palestinian Youth Movement organized more than 30 rallies across the country for Nov. 4.
In Montreal, streets were flooded on Saturday with people standing in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
"What we are seeing now is the people of the world, and in Montreal specifically, demanding an end to this genocide and standing for justice and human rights wherever we are," Sarah Shamy, a Palestinian Youth Movement organizer in the city, told CBC News.
"This shows that people refuse to be complicit and they refuse for state leaders to do this in our name."
Canadians in cities like Halifax, Fredericton, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver also marched in support of Palestinians and called for a ceasefire by Israel.
The protests came alongside a major demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., as well as numerous other rallies across the United States that also saw tens of thousands of people gather in support of Palestinians in Gaza.
Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators also gathered in other parts of the world on Saturday to demand an immediate end to Israel's bombardment of Gaza. Outside of Canada and the United States, huge demonstrations were seen in countries with large Muslim populations, such as the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against the calls on Friday, demanding there would be no ceasefire until Hamas releases their estimated 240 hostages.
On Thursday, a group of seven U.N. special rapporteurs issued a statement calling for a ceasefire, noting Palestinians were at "grave risk of genocide."
Arab leaders also urged an immediate ceasefire on Saturday, pressing U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to convince Israel. But the American diplomat pushed back saying that would only allow Hamas to regroup and attack Israel again.
Israeli airstrikes hit two refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday, killing scores of people, according to health officials.
The Hamas-run health ministry reported the Palestinian death toll in the war has reach 9,700.
On the Israeli side, more than 1,400 people have been killed, most of them in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that started the fighting.