Pro-Palestinian demonstrations expected across Canada over Christmas weekend

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Pro-Palestinian protests are expected again Saturday, in the wake of increasingly threatening demonstrations in cities worldwide.

Social media accounts tout the theme of “no Xmas as usual,” with organizers arguing there should not be a sense of holiday normalcy as Israel targets Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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Left-wing groups are planning to protest not only across Canada, but also in the United States and elsewhere. CODEPINK, a self-described feminist organization, has put out a tweet announcing it would be present at a pro-Palestinian Los Angeles protest organized by the L.A. chapter of Black Lives Matter.

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Jewish groups and others have raised concerns about what these protests may bring, given that organizers have openly called for “shutting down Christmas shopping.”

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Law enforcement has urged protesters ahead of the planned demonstrations to follow the law. Lauren Pogue, deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service, said that demonstrations on private property are illegal, and that protesters who defy this can be arrested.

During last week’s pro-Palestine protests in Toronto, rallies were held inside several malls. At Yorkdale Mall, a couple and their 8-week-old baby were walking through the building when they began to be shouted at by a group of around 50 protesters. Wife Sarah Brown said that one of the microphone-wielding protesters came inches away from their stroller.

The Ottawa Police Service have also confirmed that they are aware of the planned demonstrations Saturday, and that there will be an increased police presence downtown.

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