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Kevin Neish's cross-Canada tour gives boost to Palestine solidarity

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On Sunday, Kevin Neish wrapped-up a month of travel and speaking in support of the Canadian Boat to Gaza (CBG) with a public forum in Surrey, B.C., hosted by the Fraser Valley Peace Council.

Neish, a Victoria-based activist, had earlier completed a very successful pan-Canadian tour November 5-12, during which he shared with diverse audiences his experience aboard the Mavi Marmara.  In addition to telling his harrowing account of bearing witness to numerous violations of human rights and international law, Neish and other local activists encouraged local communities to support the CBG, which will set sail in Spring 2011 with “International Freedom Flotilla 2”.

Neish’s message was received in Halifax, Hamilton, London, Windsor, Regina, Yellowknife, Edmonton and Vancouver.  In Yellowknife, Kevin spoke with high school students, as well as a strong group of activists.  The talk in Regina was pulled together by one woman but sparked the development of a new Palestinian support group.

The London, Ontario event occurred at the local Mosque and was supplemented by a brief talk by Christian Peacemaker Esther Kearn, who spoke about her challenging work in the West Bank. During Neish’s presentation, video footage showed IDF using violence while boarding the ship and seizing control of both the upper and lower decks. The Israeli’s had claimed that they shot people at their feet in order to scare them into surrendering, but according to Neish, several of those killed were wounded first and then shot in the neck and back of the head, proving that these killings had been targeted.

In addition to raising awareness about Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza, Neish’s talks raised thousands of dollars for the Canadian Boat to Gaza. The CBG project announced last month that it had raised just over a third of this amount.

Work continues in communities across Canada to raise the remaining funds. A number of the events on George Galloway’s just-completed Canadian tour also included special fundraising appeals for the Boat to Gaza.

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