Montreal marks Israeli independence


About 6,000 people turned out in downtown Montreal to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day. The rally took place at its usual downtown location following last year’s unsuccessful relocation to the mainly Jewish suburb of Cote Saint-Luc. A heavy
police contingent was on hand following reports that a large anti-Zionist rally was expected nearby.

Ultimately the sole anti-Zionists were some 25 members of the Neturei
Karta, a Chasidic sect that opposes the Jewish state. They chanted anti-Israel
slogans and waved Palestinian flags and signs condemning Israel
from behind protective barricades and a wall of police officers.
There was no violence.

Jewish community leaders addressed a crowd that included politicians
such as Stockwell Day, a prominent member of the ruling federal Progressive Conservative
Party, and Stephane Dion, leader of the opposition Liberal Party of Canada; as well as Irwin Cotler, a politician and Montreal human rights lawyer.

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