July 20th, 2024

Politicians condemn protest at Jewish-owned business as police monitor demonstrations

By The Canadian Press on October 23, 2023.

The Toronto Police Service says it is aware of a demonstration that happened in front of a Jewish-owned business, but no police report has been filed. A Toronto Police Service logo patch is shown in Toronto, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

OTTAWA – Toronto police say they are aware of a demonstration that happened this weekend in front of a Jewish-owned business, but no one has filed a report with them.

Footage shared on social media shows a group of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in front of a restaurant in Toronto, with some members of the crowd calling it a “Zionist café” and calling for a boycott.

There has been widespread condemnation of the chant from political leaders including Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, who said in a statement that “targeting a business in this way is wrong.”

University of Ottawa criminology professor Michael Kempa says it is ultimately up to police to decide what behaviour crosses a line into criminality when it comes to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Police services across Canada say they are dealing with heightened fears from both Jewish and Muslim groups since the Israel-Hamas war broke out more than two weeks ago.

Many have increased their presence near places of worship and are sending officers to monitor protests.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned Hamas since it attacked Israel on Oct. 7, saying the group is a listed terrorist entity and its militants are not “freedom fighters.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2023.

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