Pro-Palestinian protesters run from police following a demonstration in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Pro-Palestinian protesters run from police following a demonstration in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Tensions flare at Israel-Palestinian demonstrations in Montreal, Toronto

Several public figures took to their social media accounts to denounce violence and call for calm

Tensions ran high at competing demonstrations over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in both Montreal and Toronto this weekend.

Police in Montreal confirmed they responded to a conflict that erupted between protesters and counter-protesters at a rally in support of Israel near the city’s downtown Sunday afternoon.

People were heard shouting “Free Palestine” as they ran from police, who fired chemical irritants into the air.

The pro-Israel rally comes one day after thousands attended a pro-Palestinian march in Montreal to demand an end to Israeli airstrikes over the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, police in Toronto say they’ve laid charges in connection with a pro-Palestinian demonstration that drew more than 5,000 people to Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall on Saturday night.

A 22-year-old man faces an assault charge, while a 29-year-old man was charged with bringing a weapon to a public meeting.

Police say they’re also investigating a separate alleged assault outside the square that was circulating on social media. A spokesperson confirmed it was connected to the demonstration but offered no other details.

The protests were stoked by five days of mayhem that left at least 145 Palestinians dead in Gaza and eight dead on the Israeli side. The violence, set off by Hamas firing a rocket into Israel on Monday, came after weeks of mounting tensions in contested Jerusalem.

Israel stepped up its assault and slammed the Gaza Strip with airstrikes Saturday, in a dramatic escalation that included bombing the home of a senior Hamas leader, killing a family of 10 in a refugee camp and destroying a building that housed the offices of The Associated Press and other media.

Several public figures took to their social media accounts to denounce violence and call for calm.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he strongly condemns “the despicable rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend.”

“Everyone has the right to assemble peacefully and express themselves freely in Canada – but we cannot and will not tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind,” he tweeted.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford called on police to investigate any acts of anti-Semitism, which he says have no place in the province.

“Discrimination or hatred of any kind against any community in our province should never be tolerated,” he wrote on Twitter.

Toronto police have said that Jewish people were the group most frequently victimized by hate crimes in 2020.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs alleged both protests included aggressive acts of anti-Semitism, including Nazi imagery, death threats against Israeli supporters and at least one physical assault. Police forces declined to offer details of what transpired.

The centre said it was “gravely concerned” with what it described as “a wave of violence and anti-Semitism impacting communities across Canada.”

“There is absolutely no justification for political violence of any kind in our streets, whatever one’s cause may be,” it said in a statement. “…Like all Canadians of goodwill, Canada’s Jewish community seeks peace and a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike. At the same time, we urge our neighbours of all backgrounds to join us in condemning these disturbing acts.”

— with files from Graham Hughes and The Associated Press.

The Canadian Press

Gaza IsraelIsraelMiddle East

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read