Shereen Rafea |Website Editor
To protest the human rights violations that are taking place in Syria, Montrealers gathered today near Maisonneuve and Guy Street and marched towards Philips square.
The march, titled March in Protest of Human Rights Abuses in Syria was organized by a mixture of students and volunteers, and drew a small crowd. Some of them had family in Syria, while others came for support. Men, women and children held signs with pictures of the victims in Syria, and signs with messages on them. Others carried the Syrian flag or flags that contained the words freedom and democracy.
“We want the world to know that this is unacceptable,” said Line Atallah, one of the organizers, “we want the media to know that this unacceptable, and we want to stand with our brothers and sisters in Syria.”
“We want them to know that we are here thinking of them,” she added.
Others expressed their hope for better solutions to help Syria. “We are having some signs regarding the G20 tomorrow, just asking them to think about us,” said Kinda, a Masters student at Concordia University , and another organizer of the march. She says that international media have limited access to Syria, and so do aid workers like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.
“So far its eight months, people are killed [and] tortured back in Syria and nobody is able to do something for them.” She added.
The organizers also distributed flowers in honour of Ghaith Mattar, the 26-year old Syrian activist whose body was delivered to his family last September. Activists in Syria have said that he used to give flowers to the security forces and was an advocate of peaceful protests.
“We are really sad,” said Atallah, “and we are trying to do as much as we can from here.
During the march, people chanted in French, English and Arabic, calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, and for the freedom of Syria.
“Whether I was against the regime initially or not, I think for now things need to stop,”said Noor Awad, a Concordia Accounting student. “I think its time for Bashar to get off…what he is, is a dictator.”
The United Nations have estimated that over 3000 people have been killed since the uprising began.