Victoria police are warning commuters to expect traffic disruptions in the city’s downtown on Sunday due to a planned demonstration.
The “Peaceful March for Palestine” rally will see people gather at the B.C. legislature from 1-3 p.m., according to organizers. Their poster reads, “Stop arming Israel. We demand a permanent ceasefire. End the blockade on Gaza.”
“This march aims to stand in solidarity with Palestine, advocate for justice, and promote peace in the region,” an organizer told CHEK News in an email.
VicPD says the demonstration is expected to disrupt traffic along Government and Douglas streets, between Belleville and Johnson streets, starting around 2 p.m. and lasting for approximately one hour.
“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows for peaceful demonstrations in public spaces, including streets,” said VicPD in a news release.
“However, participants are reminded that it is inherently unsafe to walk in open streets, due to traffic, and that they do so at their own risk.”
Pro-Palestinian rallies have seen hundreds march through B.C.’s capital over the past several weeks, including last Sunday when organizer Hamza Dari said they were “just calling for a ceasefire because we need peace, and we need to end the loss of lives on both sides…”
VicPD is also pointing to its Safe and Peaceful Demonstration Guide, which “contains information on the rights and responsibilities of peaceful demonstrating.”
The department says traffic updates will be posted to X (formerly Twitter). A map of the planned route is below:
A four-day truce in the Israel-Hamas war took effect early Friday, setting the stage for the exchange of dozens of hostages held by militants in Gaza in return for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.
The halt in fighting promised some relief for Gaza’s 2.3 million people, who have endured weeks of Israeli bombardment, as well as families in Israel fearful for the fate of loved ones taken captive during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war.
During this period, Gaza’s ruling Hamas group pledged to free at least 50 of the about 240 hostages it and other militants took on Oct. 7. Hamas said Israel would free 150 Palestinian prisoners. Both sides will release women and children first.
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-with files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press