11/17/2012 11:27 EST | Updated 01/17/2013 05:12 EST

Protesters Ask Canada To Condemn Israel's Policies

Smoke rises after an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Israel bombarded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with nearly 200 airstrikes early Saturday, the military said, widening a blistering assault on Gaza rocket operations by militants to include the prime minister's headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
About 150 people marched in Montreal Friday night to protest against Israel's bombing of Gaza.

People held signs and chanted in Westmount, holding a vigil outside the Consulate General of Israel.

The protest was a local reaction to ongoing conflict in the Middle East and the deaths of 39 Palestinians. Thursday evening, Israel continued its airstrikes on Gaza and made a show of force by moving ground troops towards the border.

Israel dropped close to 200 bombs on Gaza overnight. The bombing hit several buildings, including Hamas headquarters.

Dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel, killing three people.

"Israel needs to end its brutal occupation of Palestine. It needs to stop the strikes on Gaza," said Sara Shaltony, a Montreal protestor who has family in Gaza.

Members of Montreal's Jewish community gathered in Côte Saint-Luc on Thursday to pray for the dead in Israel.

Joël Lion, Consul General of Israel for Eastern Canada, defended Israel by saying it was only retaliating against Hamas rockets.

"Sometimes we don't have a choice. Sometimes self-defense is the only way you have," he said.

The protesters denied the bombings were acts of self-defense, and called on Canada to take action.

Shaltony criticized the Canadian government for favouring Israel. She said that while Israel's actions are considered self-defense, Palestinian retaliation is not.

"There is nothing in terms of the Palestinians' rights to defend themselves," she said.

The protesters called for the Canadian government to condemn Israel's policies in the Middle East.

Also on HuffPost

Israel-Gaza conflict