Anti-Israel protesters arrested for defying Toronto bridge protest ban


Anti-Israel protesters faced surprising pushback from Toronto police after another attempt to occupy the Avenue Road overpass, leading to three arrests.

Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw announced January 11 that further protests along the overpass would no longer be tolerated.

“Our efforts to identify criminal offenses […] remains a priority for our service,” he said. “Moving forward, protests, demonstrations or the congregation of individuals on the Avenue Road overpass will not be permitted.”

“People can be expected to be arrested, if necessary,” added Demkiw.

Despite providing ample warning, protesters attempted to occupy the overpass Saturday morning near Toronto’s largest Jewish neighbourhood, reported the National Post.

Video depicted anti-Israel protesters squaring-off with local law enforcement — many of whom disagreed with the police chief’s order.

Three arrests were made, including Cyrus Reynolds, 33, on a single charge of mischief.

Hesham Aly, 36, of Toronto, and 26-year-old Ali Nasser of Mississauga both face charges of obstructing a peace officer.

All are scheduled to appear in court in February.

Jewish residents had said they felt intimidated and harassed by earlier protests, despite advocates insisting the contrary.

Among the protesters there was paraphernalia depicting Adolf Hitler and related Nazi imagery. The overpass is within walking distance of nine synagogues and several Jewish businesses, homes, schools, daycares and community centres.

Demkiw told reporters that earlier protests had escalated tensions and posed a serious risk to public safety.

“Hate and intimidation can have no space in our city,” he said. “We have been unwavering in our commitment to restore the sense of public safety, and not tolerate behaviour that crosses the line to criminal activity.”

Anti-Israel protests became frequent in the Greater Toronto Area, following the October 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas, the governing body of the Gaza Strip, leaving 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals dead.

Anti-Israel protests immediately began boycotting Jewish-owned businesses, and targeting politicians who are not emphatically pro-Palestine.

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