April 23rd, 2024

Toronto Police reviewing protest that prompted cancellation of PM’s reception

By The Canadian Press on March 3, 2024.

Protestors wave flags and sing as police line the entrance to the Art Gallery of Ontario, where a cancelled event for Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, was to take place, in Toronto, Saturday, Mar. 2, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Toronto Police say they are reviewing whether illegal activity occurred during a protest on Saturday that led to the cancellation of a reception hosted by the Prime Minister for a visiting G-7 leader.

The event at the Art Gallery of Ontario was meant to cap off a day of meetings between Justin Trudeau and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Toronto, but it was abruptly cancelled after demonstrators shouting pro-Palestinian slogans blocked entrances to the building and prevented many attendees from getting in.

Trudeau’s office said Saturday neither he nor Meloni were able to enter the venue, and International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen was seen walking for two blocks with a police escort to find an unoccupied entrance.

Toronto Police Service spokeswoman Stephanie Sayer says police were in contact with the prime minister’s security team, who were told officers were prepared to provide secure access to the building for Trudeau.

She says Toronto Police did not recommend the event be cancelled, and it was the prime minister’s team who decided not to proceed.

Sayer says approximately 400 protesters were gathered outside the AGO and there were no injuries or arrests, though police are continuing to investigate what happened.

“We are reviewing the events of last night and if it’s determined that illegal activity occurred, charges can be laid at a later date,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2024.

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