April 17th, 2024

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators say they feel vilified after protest cancels PM event

By The Canadian Press on March 4, 2024.

A protester walks 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

OTTAWA – Organizers of a pro-Palestinian protest that disrupted a weekend reception featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau say they’re being unfairly vilified.

The event, which was to include Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, was abruptly called off as demonstrators blocked entrances to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Toronto police say about 400 protesters took part, and while no arrests were made, investigations are ongoing.

Dalia Awwad, an organizer with Palestinian Youth Movement, says politicians are vilifying protesters to avoid talking about Canada’s role in the Israel-Hamas war.

Former public safety minister Marco Mendicino called the protesters antisemitic “thugs” in a social media post Sunday.

Amira Elghawaby, Canada’s anti-Islamophobia envoy, says there’s been a “constant rush” to portray pro-Palestinian protests as a threat to public safety.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2024.

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