July 22, 2014 1:44 pm

Calgary’s Jewish community calls violent downtown protest ‘shameful’

CALGARY- Calgary’s Jewish community says it’s appalled at the behaviour of some people at a downtown demonstration that turned violent.

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On Friday evening, hundreds gathered in front of City Hall in support of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza. However, a handful of Israeli supporters showed up, and an angry confrontation broke out that saw men begin shoving each other and screaming. One person even stomped on an Israeli flag.

“It is absolutely shameful that a person carrying an Israeli flag is not safe on the streets of Calgary,” said Jeffrey Smith, chair of Calgary Jewish Federation’s Community Relations Committee. “Freedom of expression is a hallmark of our Canadian democracy, and that means freedom for all points of view.”

He adds that there were only about 10 Israel supporters, and says they were “swarmed by a hostile, angry mob.”

“The Calgary Police Service failed to protect its citizens in this instance,” said Smith. “We are in discussions with police to ensure this does not happen again.”

Despite being told about the rally beforehand, Calgary Police did not show up to the scene until it began getting violent. They managed to diffuse the situation and lined up across Macleod Trail to separate the protesters.

A solidarity rally is planned for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Calgary Jewish Community Centre, in support of the people of Israel. It will include eyewitness reports from Israel and prayers for peace.

 

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