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Several arrests made at pro-Palestinian rally, Toronto police say

Toronto police arrested and charged several people at a pro-Palestinian demonstration downtown Saturday.

A “large demonstration” took place at Yonge and Dundas streets at around 2:30 p.m., police said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. Demonstrators made their way through the downtown core before ending in the area of Parliament and Front streets, according to police. 

A man was first arrested at the demonstration near Parliament and Gerrard streets, police said. 

The man was allegedly operating a truck with occupants in the bed of the truck while it was in motion, police said in a news release Sunday. He was charged with stunt driving, according to the release. The vehicle has been impounded for 14 days and his driver’s licence has been suspended for 30 days, it said.

“For safety reasons, officers have been cautioning demonstration organizers [and drivers specifically] for over a month about not having people in the bed of the truck or attached trailer while it is in motion,” said police spokesperson Laurie McCann in an email Saturday.

“We made it clear that this stipulation would be in effect at all demonstrations.”

While officers were seizing the truck, police allege demonstrators became “aggressive and assaultive” toward officers.

Police say a 24-year-old woman was arrested at the demonstration for allegedly throwing horse manure at officers. She has been charged with assaulting a peace officer with a weapon.

Another woman, 27, was also arrested after allegedly using a flagpole to “spear” at an officer, the release claimed. She faces one charge of assaulting a peace officer with a weapon.

Police said “several people” interfered with the arrest. Four males were arrested for breach of the peace, according to the release. Three were later released unconditionally while one was wanted on a warrant for an unrelated matter and turned over to the OPP.

An investigation remains ongoing into the incidents, police said.

In a post on Instagram, Palestinian Youth Movement Toronto claimed police “employed brutal tactics” on attendees and “violently arrested” six people.

The organization said organizers and attendees were protesting outside 51 Division Saturday, demanding the release of those arrested. 

Protesters were calling Saturday for Canada to demand a permanent ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, a complete arms embargo and sanctions against Israel. 

Airstrikes and Israel’s ground offensive have left 32,705 Palestinians dead, local health authorities said Saturday. The war began after Hamas-led militants stormed across southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 others hostage, according to the Israeli government.

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