Anti-Israel protesters jumped a senator’s car Tuesday outside Parliament to demand a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Senator Donald Plett, Opposition Leader in the Senate, called the incident frightening. "I would like to hear how we go about protecting ourselves because we are getting less and less protection," he told a Senate committee. "[...] the public should know what is happening here and how unsafe we in fact feel."
On November 8, the Labour For Palestine group urged members of the Palestinian and Jewish communities alongside labour activists to "disrupt access to Parliamentary parking lots to send a strong message" to the federal government.
"Canada cannot continue to ignore the indiscriminate slaughter of children, civilians, journalists, health care and humanitarian workers in Gaza," said Hassan Husseini, a member of Labour for Palestine. "We need an unequivocal statement from Prime Minister Trudeau in support of an immediate ceasefire."
Trudeau stopped short of calling for a ceasefire last week, and instead urged for a "humanitarian pause" amid intensifying firefights and air strikes in northern Gaza. "The impact of the horrific terrorist attack by Hamas — an organization responsible for not only the deaths of Israelis, but […] Palestinians as well," he said, urging for the protection of civilians.
As of writing, the Israeli government has permitted a daily pause to operations in northern Gaza for four hours a day starting Thursday. According to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby, they would permit displaced Palestinians to flee along two humanitarian corridors.
Concerning the anti-Israel blockade by Labour For Palestine and the Palestinian Youth Movement, protesters disseminated pamphlets in advance that explicitly called for the "[blocking of] MP cars from entering Parliament." In a Facebook post by the latter, protesters gave the government several demands, including an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and to "end Canadian complicity in Israeli apartheid."
To the contrary, local law enforcement called the ordeal an "unplanned pro-Palestine demonstration," according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
Sarah Abdul-Karim, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement, claims Canada failed to uphold its treaty obligations for the Geneva Convention amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. "We [Canada] are actively providing military, political, and diplomatic support for the Israeli genocide on Gaza," she said, claiming Israel has killed north of 10,000 Palestinians since October 7.
Dwelling on the incident, Plett told senators he was on his way to meet with the Manitoba Conservative caucus.
"As I get to the stop sign there is a car in front of me that has stopped with probably 30 or 40 protesters around that car, not letting the car move," he said. "What I found out later on is they insisted the driver take a pamphlet and once the driver took a pamphlet, they let the car go."
The Opposition Senate leader then recalled protesters leaping onto his car and pounding the hood when he declined to take a pamphlet.
"They all moved over to my car," said Plett. "I just very, very slowly, slowly, slowly kept on driving and they actually jumped onto my car. They were banging on my windows."
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Plett felt “very unsafe” during the incident. The Senator told committee he "slowly kept on going [as] there was no security around."
Plett contrasted the lack of security to the 2022 reaction to Freedom Convoy demonstrators outside Parliament — a peaceful protest by truckers opposed to COVID mandates that prompted the invocation of the Emergencies Act, a Canadian first.
"Later on, we heard further at our meetings there were probably a dozen members of the House who had also been under attack," said Plett. "When they asked the Parliamentary Protective Service over at the House why they weren’t being given any help the answer was, 'We don’t have enough staff.'"
"They seem to have enough staff to stop all hot tub parties and barbecues when we had some friendly protesters here," said Plett, referring to Freedom Convoy street parties. "And now they don’t have enough staff when many of us feel very, very unsafe."