Bridgewater protestors call for ceasefire in Gaza

(Photo: Jesse Ward)

A large crowd turned out for a rally in Bridgewater demanding a ceasefire in Gaza last week on Sunday, October 29.

Protestors – including youth, seniors and families – met at the corner of Lahave and King Street and marched to South Shore-St Margarets MP Rick Perkins’ King Street office. 

Approximately 65 people could be found halfway through the protest at 3 p.m., repeating chants like “free, free Palestine” and “let Gaza live,” in the main street of the small Nova Scotia town that recorded a 2021 census population of 8,790.

Jody Zinner, a co-coordinator of the protest, started the march by announcing it was a peace march and no acts of aggression would be tolerated.

“Today we gather because we believe that everyone deserves to live in peace, dignity and safety. We condemn all forms of antisemitism and Islamophobia and value all of human life as sacred and precious,” said Zinner in a speech outside of MP Perkins’ office.

Zinner read a list of demands including:

  • “We demand our government advocate for the proposed prisoner swap of Israeli hostages for Palestinian detainees, as the Israeli family members of hostages have called for. We do not believe that bombing will bring them home safely. If this was about the hostages, Israel would put the safety of the hostages before its military objectives. Both Palestinians and Israeli civilians are calling for an end to the bombing.”
  • “We demand that our MP Rick Perkins call on Justin Trudeau to advocate for a ceasefire internationally. Furthermore, we demand that he push the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Polievre, to do the same.”
  • “We demand that our (Lunenburg West) MLA Becky Druhan stand up for the lives of the innocent Palestinians in Province House and push the Government of Nova Scotia to call for a ceasefire.”

Zinner shared her own story and motivations to make demands upon the government.

“I, like many other Canadians, have personal ties to Israel. After my paternal Jewish family survived the extermination camps of Nazi Germany, my great aunt Ella moved to Israel where she lived out the rest of her natural life. Her daughter Rachel and her husband lived and worked on a kibbutz,” she said.

“Many Canadians, Palestinian and Jewish, have ties to that territory. Long, deep, old ties that are filled with complicated feelings, stories and experiences. I do not claim to be an expert in the history of this conflict or to have committed to memory every nightmare that has taken place over the last 75 years since the formation of the State of Israel.” 

“However, I do not believe one has to be an expert to decide to take a stand after witnessing the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians or to make the call of a ceasefire now.”

Speaking with The Barnacle during the protest, Zinner said she heard from a representative of the Council of Canadians – a federal advocacy non-profit – that it was the most well-attended march in Bridgewater they are aware of.

“I’m really proud of the South Shore,” said Zinner. “A lot of my Jewish friends are out here, too. It’s encouraging to me to see the diversity of people here.” 

“I think this issue has really horrified people because we’re watching this war broadcast live, right to our social media accounts, and a lot of us can’t just idly sit by and witness this massacre.”

Perkins and Druhan have not publicly acknowledged the protest.

The organizers of the protest are since calling their campaign South Shore Ceasefire Now

In a press release attributed to Bill Rodger of South Shore Ceasefire Now published on Nov. 1, he writes about the aftermath of the demonstration:

“Following the demonstration, a representative of Perkins’ office offered to make themselves available to meet. This offer has since been retracted, and Perkins has yet to respond to SSCN directly. More recently, SSCN was informed that his office is on lock-down and he is unable to meet remotely. Despite this setback, SSCN will continue to pressure Perkins to take a public stance that supports the call for a ceasefire. SSCN will also be reaching out to the offices of MLAs Becky Druhan and Susan Corkum-Greek.”

The group plans to hold a “Postcards For Peace” letter writing campaign at the Margaret Hennigar Public Library in Bridgewater from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, November 9.


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