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Giant Keffiyeh revealed at Ontario Legislature in response to ban

MPP Sarah Jama defies order to remove keffiyeh at Queen's Park. (Radio Canada)

In a powerful display of solidarity, activists in Toronto unveiled a giant entirely handcrafted keffiyeh, the second largest in history.The event held at Queen's Park, the site of the Ontario legislature, aimed to protest the ban on keffiyehs inside the Legislative Building, a measure announced earlier in April.

Poetry readings, songs and impassioned speeches accompanied the unveiling, emphasizing the importance of this symbol and advocating for Palestinian rights.

We want to get the governments of Canada whether they be municipal, provincial, or, federal, to understand that any form of a keffiyeh ban is actually cultural discrimination against the Palestinian culture and the Palestinian people.

Palestinian Activist 01

The 75-meter-long keffiyeh was pieced together with 12 fabric panels, each bearing the names of over 15,000 Palestinian children and healthcare workers, who lost their lives in the Zionist genocide since October 7, 2023.

If you look at the symbols and the icons on the keffiyeh, they far exceed the Israeli occupation in terms of time; the keffiyeh has been around for centuries.

It is part of the culture, it is part of the land, and it is part of us as our Palestinian identity.

Palestinian Activist 01

Well, what Canada is doing, I think is atrocious in terms of both directly supporting and legitimizing the genocide in Palestine, and that the Ontario legislature would be pass this type of ban, it's tiny and it's horrific at the same time, but it's part of Canada's role in sort of supporting and/or legitimizing what Israel is doing in Palestine.

And these are war crimes and crimes against humanity of the highest order.

Grahame Russell, Human Rights Activist

Additionally, organizers are calling on Ottawa to impose sanctions on Israel by severing diplomatic and economic ties and implementing a two-way arms embargo.

This genocide has to stop, this continuous killing and premeditated slaughter of the Palestinians of Gaza needs to stop, and we're not going to give up.

Palestinian Activist 01

They also demanded official government recognition of the Nakba (the catastrophe) of 1948 that saw hundreds of thousands of Palestinians forcibly removed from their lands.

The keffiyeh was also carried to the 'People Circle for Palestine', the ongoing student-organized encampment at the University of Toronto.

The students' encampment at the University of Toronto continues, even after many similar encampments around North America have been dismantled by a brutal repressive, police force.

Having been there for over a month and with the graduation ceremony set to begin, students say that they will not be moved until their demands to divest from Israeli apartheid and genocide are met.

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