Sunday, April 14, 2024

Protester commits to hunger strike and demands action from BC to aid Palestine


Ahead of the Family Day Long weekend, a passionate advocate for peace in Palestine decided to embark on a hunger strike and disrupt the throne speech that took place on Tuesday, February 20th. 

The protester, who will be referred to simply as Emily, began her hunger strike on Friday, February 16th, and committed to eating no food and drinking nothing but water with electrolyte additives for the past four days. 

She sent a list of demands to several members of government and media organizations to spread the word and in the hopes that the BC government would acknowledge the ongoing bombardment of the Gaza region in Palestine. 

Her demands were that: 

  • Premier Eby leads the BC government in boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning the Israeli state
  • The BC NDP act on their call for a ceasefire in Palestine and demand the same from the Canadian government
  • The Province establishes unlimited corridors for Palestinian refugees to come to BC
  • The BC government offers all Palestinian migrants comprehensive relief upon arrival

Emily says that she decided to go on a hunger strike because she’s seen various sit-ins, rallies, blockades and letter writing campaigns across Canada, but that hadn’t been enough to force the country’s hand into taking tangible action. 

At this time, Victoria’s Mayor Marianne Alto, Premier David Eby and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have all called publicly for a ceasefire, but little action has been taken to achieve this. 

“The BC NDP, they passed a resolution for a ceasefire, and yet there were no tangible action items in ending the situation or facilitating a ceasefire,” Emily told Victoria Buzz. 

“I wasn’t sure what else to do,” she continued. 


She says tangible action as related to her demands could include demanding the federal government stop the flow of weapons to Israel. 

Emily says that between around 50 and 60 supporters came out to aid her in her efforts to make her hunger strike known to the Province and to disrupt Lieutenant Governor Jane Austin’s throne speech on Monday afternoon. 

The group was successful in their efforts in that some proposed ceremonial precursors to the throne speech were abandoned, they were loud enough in their chanting outside that they could be heard in the legislative assembly and she was able to get her list of demands into the hands of some government officials. 

“As we were standing on the front steps of the legislature yesterday, I was handing out printed copies of my list of demands and a little bit of a statement of why I’m doing this hunger strike,” Emily explained.

“About four or five people entering the legislature took them and said thank you for doing this and I told them they can thank me by bringing it up inside.” 

Aside from those interactions, she has had no acknowledgement from the Province or Premier Eby regarding her hunger strike or her list of demands. 

She plans on continuing her hunger strike until budget day on February 22nd, although she has started to eat one meal a day for the sake of her personal health and wellbeing. 

“Hopefully by the end of budget day, I’ll be able to find out if they’ve taken any action on those statements,” she said. 

Emily says that on Tuesday, at the rally, and in an ongoing way throughout Victoria’s peaceful demonstrations for peace in Palestine, there has always been a very strong presence of anti-Zionist Jewish allies.

That being said, Emily specified that she does not conflate Zionism and Judaism. The two are completely different and just because someone is anti-Zionist, does not mean that they are anti-Semitic. 

“Not everyone who is a Zionist is Jewish and not everyone who is Jewish is a Zionist,” Emily continued. 

The Israel-Hamas conflict began on October 7th following an attack by Hamas on innocent Israeli citizens in which around 1,200 were killed and over 250 hostages were taken. 

Since that time, Israel has bombarded the Gaza region of Palestine at an unprecedented rate, killing over 29,000 innocents so far, many of whom were women and children. 

Both Hamas and the Israel Defence Forces both continue to hold hostages in this conflict. 

Curtis Blandy

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