Toronto police say three people have been charged after thousands of people attended two large gatherings in the city on Saturday and officers are probing an assault that was captured on video.
Police said in a news release that the first event happened between noon and 4 p.m., when around 5,000 people gathered at Queen’s Park and then marched through downtown streets.
Posts on social media show a huge anti-lockdown event took place at the Ontario legislature.
Police said two officers were injured, with one being bitten.
Mississauga resident Tarik Khaled Elzaabalawi, 24, was charged with two counts of assault peace officer and mischief under $5,000.
Meanwhile, in the evening hours, thousands of people gathered at Nathan Phillips Square in support of Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
A smaller group of pro-Israel demonstrators also gathered in the area.
Recent events in the Middle East have marked some of the worst violence between Israel and Palestine seen in years.
Police said more than 5,000 people attended the event at Nathan Phillips Square and officers implemented road closures.
Hamza Alkiswany, 22, of Thornhill was charged with assault and Connor Campbell, 29, of Toronto was charged with bringing a weapon to a public meeting.
“Police are continuing to investigate this event and have been clear that organizers and attendees of events are subject to enforcement and that charges can be laid in the days following events,” the news release said, in reference to provincial COVID-19 restrictions which currently prohibit indoor and outdoor gatherings.
“The Toronto police continue to enforce the provincial emergency orders. When thousands of people gather for demonstrations or protests, the priority of the police must be to keep the peace and take steps to protect the safety of all involved and that of people and property in surrounding areas.”
The news release didn’t mention any charges laid in relation to emergency orders that prohibit gatherings.
Police probe video of assault
Police said they’re also investigating a video of an assault that was posted online.
Officers said the incident happened outside of Nathan Phillips Square and investigators are asking anyone with information, including images and videos, to contact them.
A video posted to Twitter appears to show a person with a Palestinian flag on their back and another individual each striking a man with an object.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.
A video posted online appears to show an assault in Toronto Saturday.Twitter / @EliKohn3
I have been in touch with @TorontoPolice Chief Ramer and have made available to him a video of a particularly disturbing incident which had been sent to me.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) May 16, 2021
The @TorontoPolice managed crowds of thousands who participated in demonstrations yesterday. Our priority must be public & officer safety in these situations.We continue to investigate these events including an assault that took place nearby. Charges will be laid where warranted. https://t.co/H8vpl35HnU
— Chief James Ramer (@jamesramertps) May 16, 2021