Hate-crime charges sought against pro-Palestine protesters

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The Jewish service organization B’nai Brith is seeking “hate-crime charges” in connection with a tense demonstration in Winnipeg earlier this month which saw pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protestors clash near the Manitoba legislature.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/05/2021 (547 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Jewish service organization B’nai Brith is seeking “hate-crime charges” in connection with a tense demonstration in Winnipeg earlier this month which saw pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protestors clash near the Manitoba legislature.

On May 15, hundreds of people rallied along Broadway for two separate demonstrations organized in response to fighting in the Middle East between Israel and militant groups in Gaza.

The “emergency protest for Palestine” and the “rally for Israel” quickly converged, with hundreds of protestors on the pro-Palestine side outnumbering the pro-Israel side, which had fewer than 100 supporters.

Palestinian protesters taunt and hold up signs at opposing Israeli protesters at Memorial Park on May 15. B’nai Brith is calling for members of the pro-Palestine demonstration to be criminally prosecuted. (Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg Free Press files)

On Sunday, B’nai Brith issued a press release calling for members of the pro-Palestine demonstration to be criminally prosecuted. The Jewish service organization also called for a “political response” from local officials.

“In one video, the crowd is seen dancing and cheering to an Arabic song being played through a speaker set. The song contains anti-Semitic lyrics such as ‘Get lost, you son of a Jew!” the organization said in a written statement.

“It also asserts that Jews have ‘no rights here,’ and that they will ‘get nothing on this land but gunpowder.’… In another video, protestors are seen chanting in favour of the Hamas terrorist group… B’nai Brith has reported these matters to the Winnipeg Police Service.”

The WPS was unable to be reached for comment Sunday.

On May 21, a ceasefire was declared in the latest round of fighting in the ongoing conflict, bringing to end 11 days of violence which saw more than 250 people killed — most of whom were in Gaza.

During the May 15 rally in Winnipeg, someone on the pro-Palestine side threw water bottles at the Israeli side and a young woman was hit in the head. At one point, an Israel flag was set on fire in the middle of the street.

One of the organizers of the pro-Palestine demonstration alleged a young woman had been punched in the head by a pro-Israel protestor.

While there were accusations of violence on both sides, the WPS said at the time that no arrests had been made. A significant police presence was dispatched to the rallies to separate the demonstrations from each other.

“It is unacceptable that anti-Jewish taunts and support for a banned terrorist group be expressed outside the Manitoba legislature,” said Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada, in the press release.

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