Around 400 pro-Israel protesters gathered in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday in support of families whose relatives were abducted by Hamas militants last month.
The demonstration saw emotional testimonies from some of the hostages’ relatives, who say they are barely able to manage amid the stress of not knowing whether their loved ones are safe.
Around 240 hostages were taken by Hamas on Oct. 7 during a series of attacks in Israel in which an estimated 1,200 people died, according to officials in the country.
“I think it’s just a constant battle against a feeling of hopelessness and pain,” said Randi Sommerfeld, whose husband’s cousin Ofir Engel was abducted. “You have to dig so deep right now to remember your values and remember that there are good people in the world.”
Navah Jacobs says five of her cousins were killed in the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7, and said she felt for the mothers of hostages, many of whom are children.
“We feel that everybody that’s suffering there is something that we’re feeling right to our very core,” she said.
The UN’s Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said dozens of people were killed and wounded at a school in the north of Gaza, where displaced civilians had taken shelter on Saturday.
“These attacks cannot become commonplace, they must stop. A humanitarian ceasefire cannot wait any longer,” UNRWA commissioner general Philippe Lazzarini said on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.