An Iranian-Canadian activist says violent pro-Palestinian demonstrators dislocated his shoulder and ripped away a flag at a protest in downtown Toronto on Saturday.
Video on social media shows Salman Sima, who has counter-protested at recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Toronto, struggling with protesters to keep his “lion and sun” version of the Iranian flag, used by opponents of the Islamic regime of Iran. Goldie Ghamari, an Ontario MPP, said the flag represents “freedom and democracy.”
Other video shows a protester attempting to grab a Canadian flag from Sima, who also had an Israeli flag and a sign wishing people a Merry Christmas amid the large crowd of pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
“They’re not just attacking other countries. They’re attacking the Canadian flag. On Canadian soil,” Ghamari, an Iranian-Canadian who is a staunch supporter of Israel as it seeks to eliminate Hamas following the Oct.7 attacks, said on the X social media site. The Islamic regime is a key backer of Hamas.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations take place across Canada over Christmas weekend
People taking part in upcoming protests warned by Toronto police to follow the law
“I can’t believe this is happening in Toronto, Canada, in 2023 … This violence has no place in civilized society.”
In a separate video of his own posted to X, Sima said he was in hospital with a “small minor fracture” of his shoulder and other minor injuries.
“Today we stood against the radical jihadist antisemite mob in Toronto. They tried to intimidate us, they grabbed our sign, they attack us, they assaulted us,” said Sima, who said he got the lion and sun flag back.
“We hold the line for freedom in Iran, we stood against the antisemitic mob in Toronto and we grab our flag back and hold the line for freedom in Iran. Peace, freedom and love for everyone. And merry Christmas.”
He said he had gone to the protest with some like-minded friends. Other videos showed Sima arguing with a Toronto police officer who objected after the Canadian flag flew into his face as Sima held it, and another protester complaining of police inaction against the pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have held similar marches in Toronto and other Canadian cities every weekend for months. For Saturday’s protests, social media accounts had touted 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.
Law enforcement had urged protesters 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 defied this could be arrested.
During last week’s pro-Palestinian 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.
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