May 21st, 2024

Ottawa police investigating chant on Parliament Hill glorifying Hamas Oct. 7 attack

By Dylan Robertson and Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press on April 22, 2024.

The prime minister is condemning a protest this weekend on Parliament Hill where a demonstrator was heard supporting the brutal Hamas attack on Israel last fall. A damaged clock outside a home that came under attack during a massive Hamas invasion into Kibbutz Nir Oz, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Francisco Seco

Ottawa police say they are investigating an allegation of hate speech that has emerged from a weekend protest on Parliament Hill.

Police say they received complaints about some of what was said during a pro-Palestinian demonstration Saturday about the Israel-Gaza war.

The protest featured demonstrators brandishing Palestinian flags and placards calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

One video posted online includes the voice of a man praising the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and its affiliates that killed 1,200 people in Israel.

Police say officers with the department’s hate crime unit have opened an investigation.

Threats of violence and other unlawful conduct are not protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which enshrines Canadians’ right to free assembly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre have both condemned the glorification of the Oct. 7 attacks.

“Our resistance attacks are proof that we are almost free,” a man can be heard saying in the video from the protest.

“Oct. 7 is proof that we are almost free. Long live Oct. 7, long live the resistance, long live the intifada, long live every form of resistance.”

Intifada is an Arabic word with meanings that include shaking off oppression. In English, it is most commonly associated with two periods of particular intensity in the Israel-Palestine conflict, which included a series of attacks by Palestinian terrorist groups on public venues inside Israel.

“There is a difference between peaceful protest and hateful intimidation,” Trudeau wrote Sunday on X.

“It is unconscionable to glorify the antisemitic violence and murder perpetrated by Hamas on October 7th. This rhetoric has no place in Canada. None.”

Poilievre also called out the messages that were on display Saturday, which he described as “malicious.”

“I condemn these pro-genocide, antisemitic chants,” the Conservative leader said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2024.

– With files from Stephanie Taylor

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