Lebanese Canadians honor victims at Nathan Phillips Square
Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
Scores of Lebanese Canadians gathered on Saturday at Nathan Phillips Square for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Beirut explosion, that left dozens killed and hundreds injured. At the vigil, hundreds of people carried Lebanese flags and lit candles to pay tribute to those killed in the explosion. The Canadian and Lebanese national anthems were also played during the ceremony.
This came as the Lebanon’s protesters stormed several government ministries as violent protests gripped Beirut on Saturday.
Hours after the protests first rocked Beirut, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has vowed to hold early elections as his beleaguered government faces calls to resign. The demonstrators erected mock gallows in what were dubbed “Judgment Day” protests, as grief gave way to anger after more than 154 people were killed and dozens more remain missing. Over 5,000 people have been injured. Donations to the Lebanese Red Cross, via Canada Red Cross, gathered so far, around $400,000. The Government of Canada is setting up the Lebanon Matching Fund to help Canadians mobilize resources to assist those affected by the explosion.
The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, announced that the Government of Canada will match every donation made by individual Canadians to the Humanitarian Coalition and its members between August 4 and 24, 2020, up to a maximum of $2 million. The Matching Fund, created in collaboration with the Coalition, is an important mechanism that will help Canada deliver life-saving assistance. “The situation in Beirut remains critical, and coordinated humanitarian action is required to respond to this terrible tragedy. Canada is known for its efficient humanitarian work and we have trusted aid organizations already working in the country. I encourage Canadians to donate to the Lebanon Matching Fund to help save lives and meet the urgent, immediate needs of the affected Lebanese communities,”
Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, said. “As emergency services and humanitarian partners continue their work on the ground, the full extent of the crisis is becoming clear. In the past few days, there has been an amazing outpouring of support from Canadians looking to help however they can. That is why, today, we are announcing that we will support Canadians who wish to help by matching their generous donations. We are proud to stand by the people of Lebanon every step of the way from emergency response, to reform and reconstruction,” Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs said.
Donations can be made via the Canadian Red Cross.