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3 arrests made at Calgary protests amid calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and counter-protest

Calgary police have made three arrests in relation to protests related to the Israel-Hamas war that took place at Olympic Plaza on Sunday.

Police said an initial protest planned by those supporting Gaza was met by a smaller counter-protest of Israel supporters. Approximately 900 people gathered downtown altogether, said a spokesperson for the Calgary Police Service. 

In a statement, Calgary police said the arrests ranged from charges of breach of peace to one arrest for assault with a weapon.

“We maintain that we police behaviours and not beliefs, and in the last two protests we have seen increasingly escalating behaviour that has required police intervention,” it said.

Police were unable to confirm what group those arrested were supporting. 

Muhannad Ayyash, a professor of sociology at Mount Royal University who was at the protests, said the demonstrations seemed peaceful for the most part.

“These are simply [protests] in support for the Palestinian struggle to be free and to have human rights like everyone else, and to stop the genocide that is being directed toward the Palestinian people at this moment in Gaza,” said Ayyash. 

“This was one of the largest demonstrations for Palestinian freedom in the city of Calgary that I have ever seen.”

Previous protests peaceful

The Canadian government has previously said does not recognize Israeli actions against Palestinians as genocide.

Rallies in support of Gaza were also held last weekend in the city. Police said those protests had remained peaceful.  

Over the weekend, two convoys of trucks carrying aid were allowed to enter Gaza, but humanitarian workers say the amount of aid entering the region is inadequate. Israel cut supplies to the territory after Hamas militants crossed the border into Israel and conducted a series of deadly attacks and kidnappings against civilians on Oct. 7.

Ayyash, the professor, called the aid convoys a “publicity stunt.” 

“[It’s] for Western countries to pretend that they are doing something but it’s not putting a dent into the need.” 

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Saturday that the death toll in the enclave has reached 4,385, while 13,561 people have been wounded.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly in the initial attack, according to the Israeli government

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