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Canadian Police deliver coffee, food to pro-Hamas protesters by blocking roads (WATCH)

Laurie McCann, a police spokeswoman, clarified that officers were focused on managing a challenging situation and did not intend to support the protest. She emphasized their priority as maintaining order amid tensions on the Avenue Road bridge.

Canadian Police deliver coffee, food to pro-Hamas protesters by blocking roads (WATCH) AJR
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First Published Jan 7, 2024, 4:55 PM IST

The Toronto Police Service's recent actions are causing a stir amid an anti-Israel protest in the city. Videos surfacing on social media show officers delivering coffee and food to demonstrators blocking a bridge in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood.

In a video, a protesters is heard asking, "How did you get coffee from the police?" The other protester responds, "Somebody bought it for us, but the police won't let them in. So the police is now becoming our little messengers."

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Laurie McCann, a police spokeswoman, clarified that officers were focused on managing a challenging situation and did not intend to support the protest. She emphasized their priority as maintaining order amid tensions on the Avenue Road bridge.

"In assisting today, our officers aimed to defuse tensions, not endorse any particular cause," McCann stated, defending their actions.

However, not everyone was reassured. Anthony Housefather, a Jewish member of Parliament, criticized the move, questioning its impact on public confidence in the police handling of the protests.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs also expressed concerns, discussing with Toronto police the ongoing rallies' impact and the community's reaction to images showing officers offering refreshments to "anti-Israel protestors."

CIJA firmly emphasized their stance against the constant disruptions caused by the ongoing protests at a significant route. They highlighted the inappropriateness of the site, an overpass within a residential area where numerous Jewish families reside. The organization stressed the need to halt the impact of a small group of activists on an entire neighborhood's daily life.

Expressing dissatisfaction, HonestReportingCanada characterized the scene as protesters blocking roads unlawfully and receiving gifts like coffee, a situation deemed embarrassing for Canada in 2024.

Earlier, the Toronto police had announced the closure of the overpass due to safety concerns, ensuring the safety of both demonstrators and passing traffic.

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Melissa Lantsman, a member of the Canadian Parliament, expressed concern over the recurring disruptions in Jewish neighborhoods, highlighting the lack of equitable law enforcement and urging the prime minister's acknowledgment of the issue.

The escalating tensions come amidst a backdrop of increased hate crimes. A recent firebombing incident targeting a Jewish-owned store in Toronto added to the concerns. The Toronto Police Service reported a significant surge in hate crimes, particularly antisemitic incidents, compared to the previous year.

From October 7, 2023, Hamas terrorists attacked Israel until December 17. According to various reports, there were as many as 98 hate crimes, including 56 antisemitic acts, compared to 48 hate crimes, 18 of them targeting Jews, in 2022.

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