Toronto Police Target Indigenous solidarity with Palestine

The clear targeting by the state to criminalize Indigenous Land Defenders at a pro-Palestine action shows that the state is afraid of what happens when Indigenous communities around the world unite.
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Protesters block a train track holding a flag
Photo: Joshua Best

On 16 April, people in Toronto shut down a critical US-Canada freight rail line for five hours demanding a full arms embargo on Israel and an end to the genocide in Gaza. While the Canadian government has promised to stop granting new permits for arms exports to Israel, already-approved exports continue, and no restrictions are in place to prevent indirect transfers to Israel via the US. Rail infrastructure which is an essential link for Canadian companies to transport military equipment to air- and seaports. Several hours into this nonviolent action, Toronto police violently pushed the crowd off the rail tracks and arrested four people. The first people they targeted for arrest were two Indigenous Land Defenders who have been vocal in connecting the struggles of Indigenous people in so-called Canada to the Palestinian struggle. Those arrested were held in custody for almost 24 hours before they were released.

CPT members who have worked in solidarity with Palestinians and with Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island know that these are common struggles against settler colonialism and genocide. While the situations are not identical, we see parallels every day in the Canadian and Israeli states’ legalized theft of land and resources; dehumanization of racialized people; and the use of settler bureaucracies, police, prisons, and military to repress any form of resistance. Canadian CPT members have heard Israeli soldiers assert that Israel learned its strategies of occupation from Canada’s oppression of Indigenous peoples. We know that the powerful teach each other tools of oppression. We also know that strategies of resistance to settler colonialism and genocide are also shared globally. When colonized people unite across borders, those who uphold colonial states get worried. 

The clear targeting by the state to criminalize Indigenous Land Defenders at a pro-Palestine action shows that the state is afraid of what happens when Indigenous communities around the world unite – yet they cannot stop it. Resistance is alive. CPT is committed to working with Palestinians and Indigenous people on Turtle Island to resist genocide and dismantle colonialism. We demand the state:

  1. Drop the charges against ALL people that have been criminalized for taking part in pro-Palestine actions
  2. Implement an immediate and all inclusive two-way arms embargo

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