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

John Archie plans to share his experiences of residential school and life on the rez at an event on June 19. (Kelly Sinoski photo -100 Mile Free Press)
Tsq’escen to share stories of ‘life on the rez’

John Archie to share his experiences in event Saturday

100 Mile House Fire Rescue responds to a grass fire on private property near Canim-Hendrix Road. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Small fire off Canim-Hendrix Road extinguished

The small grass fire was reported by neighbours and quickly brought under control

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A Category 3 fire ban will go into effect across the entire Cariboo Fire Centre beginning noon on Monday, June 21. (Pixaby photo)
Category 3 fire ban extends across entire Cariboo Fire Centre June 21

Campfires are still permitted, but no larger than half a metre high by half a metre wide

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read