Pro-Palestinian blockade of CN rail line in Winnipeg ends after 5 hours: protest organizers
'We're done for the night but the movement is only growing,' organizers say
A group of about 20 pro-Palestinian protesters that stopped traffic at the Canadian National Railway line in downtown Winnipeg on Monday afternoon have since left, organizers say.
A small group of protesters were seen standing on the CN rail line near Main Street and York avenue at The Forks on Monday afternoon, with a larger group on the street below.
The protesters were carrying Palestinian flags as well as signs that said "ceasefire now" and "Palestine will never die."
In a post made Monday shortly after 7 p.m. on X (formerly Twitter), the group organizing the blockade called Queers for Palestine announced that the protest came to an end after five hours.
"We're done for the night but the movement is only growing," the post says.
Protester Dasha Plett told CBC News during the blockade that the group wanted a ceasefire in Gaza. She said they targeted the rail line because CN has business ties to one of Israel's largest shipping companies, ZIM.
"CN is very vital for them to access the North American market and they are an Israeli company," she said.
A CN spokesperson told CBC News earlier on Monday that the company was aware of the situation and was monitoring it.
About 240 hostages were taken during a deadly cross-border rampage into Israel by Hamas militants on Oct. 7, which prompted Israel to invade the tiny Palestinian territory to wipe out the Islamist movement after several inconclusive wars since 2007.
Around 1,200 people, mostly civilians including several Canadians, were killed in the Hamas assault, according to Israeli tallies, the deadliest day in Israel's 75-year history. Since then, Gaza's Hamas-run government said at least 13,300 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 5,500 children, by unrelenting Israeli bombardment.
Plett said the blockade of the CN rail line in Winnipeg was "answering the call of Palestinian organizations to disrupt politicians, businesses, organizations and infrastructure" which support Israel.
Winnipeg police were notified of the protest, said Plett. Shortly after speaking to Plett on Monday afternoon, CBC News observed two police officers speaking with members of the rail line protest.
"We're making a charter rights argument that we can be here because of public assembly, and that that's a higher form of the law than the ones that they're threatening us with," said Plett.
Earlier Monday, she said the group intended on "staying put" at the rail line, but did not comment on how long the group planned to stay.
Winnipeg police have not yet responded to a request for comment.
With files from Jeff Stapleton and Thomson Reuters