Woman, 23, charged after anti-abortion protesters attacked on video near Ryerson
Toronto police say a woman has been arrested and charged after anti-abortion protesters were attacked on video during a protest near Ryerson University earlier this month.
Gabriela Skwarko, 23, turned herself in Friday evening.
Skwarko has been charged with assault and assault with a weapon.
Skwarko is a member of the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective, which is an abortion rights advocacy group.
The group’s co-founder, Olson Crow, declined to comment about the arrest when asked about it by Global News.
Skwarko is also listed as an assistant at Ryerson’s Social Innovation Office on its website.
“This is now a Toronto Police Service matter; the university is co-operating with the TPS,” a Ryerson spokesperson said.
The university would not comment on whether or not Skwarko remains employed by Ryerson, where she is also a student, or whether she has faced any academic repercussions.
A video of the incident, which took place during an Oct. 1 protest at Gould and Victoria streets, was posted on YouTube earlier this month.
It shows anti-abortion protesters and abortion rights advocates discussing the topic of abortion while holding signs.
WATCH: Violence flares at several abortion protests in GTA. Sean O’Shea reports.
A person can be seen approaching anti-abortion protesters Blaise Alleyne and Katie Somers and knocking down some of their controversial anti-abortion signs, which depicted aborted fetuses, though the signs were covered at the time by counter-protesters.
The attacker is then seen picking up the dolly that held the signs and throwing it in their direction.
The person then reaches into Somers’ backpack and smashes an object on the ground while pushing her.
“I’m obviously very happy that the Toronto police are taking this seriously,” Somers said. “It benefits everybody if they send a strong message that violent reactions to civil discourse will not be tolerated.”
The incident occurred one day after a man was recorded on video kicking another anti-abortion protester at a separate protest.
In that case, Jordan Hunt, 26, faces numerous assault charges.
Skwarko has been released on conditions and a promise to appear in court on Dec. 13.
She is not allowed to possess any weapons or contact Alleyne and Somers.
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