Apr 30, 2022
By Jeremy Logan
Toronto police say they will be increasing their presence in the downtown core this weekend in anticipation of more than a dozen protests.
Police Chief James Ramer says he has heard concerns about possible hate speech and confrontation between participants of an Al-Quds Day protest which is planned for Saturday afternoon and those who are opposed to the event.
Al-Quds Day is a yearly demonstration to express support for Palestinians and oppose Israel.
Ramer says officers from the police hate crime unit will be on the ground to gather evidence to investigate any suspected hate crimes, hate speech or signage.
He says the police will add more cameras and deploy officers who speak “different languages” to record what is being said among the crowds during the protests.
Ramer says the force supports peaceful demonstration but will not tolerate intimidation, harassment or hate motivated behavior aimed at specific communities.
He says the police will also not allow civil disobedience or violence for hateful behavior that crosses the line into criminality and that anyone committing these actions should expect to be arrested and prosecuted.
Ramer says the police do not expect any of the demonstrations to be linked to the “Rolling Thunder” protests in Ottawa.
He says there will be static and rolling road closures downtown Toronto, but that they will not be similar to those put in place during the truckers’ convoy protests in the winter.