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Charges laid in Calgary Israel/Gaza protest at city hall

Calgary police have released the names of four people charged after a weekend protest involving both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli activists.

Police said an estimated 2,000 protestors gathered at city hall on Sunday to show support for Palestine and Israel, respectively. 

As the event was coming to a peaceful end, police say approximately 100 demonstrators separated from the main protest and attempted to block the road, “creating a dangerous situation between motorists and demonstrators.”

In a Monday news release, police said several individuals within the group “were not compliant with police and despite attempted negotiations, continued to impede traffic and escalate their behaviour, with some attempting to push through a line of police officers.”

As a result, the following charges were laid:

  • In relation to three individuals pushing against police officers to break through the police line, Wassime Taha, 30, Wafik Kassem, 25, and Mohamed Hamdanie, 25, all of Calgary, have each been charged with one count of assaulting a peace officer.
  • In relation to interference as police attempted to make an arrest, Mervat Hamdanie, 27, of Calgary has been charged with one count of obstruction of a peace officer.

During Hamdanie’s arrest, police say her hijab “became displaced,” but said officers “immediately allowed this to be rectified.”

The Calgary Police Service said as the arrests were being made, a youth was also briefly taken into custody for his “involvement in attempting to break through the police line.”

Police said after his arrest, the youth’s parents were “allowed behind the police line to de-escalate the situation” and he was released without charges.

“Despite four individuals being charged, there were hundreds of other demonstrators who showed up yesterday in a safe, lawful and peaceful manner,” said Supt. Joe Brar in a Monday news release.

“Managing a crowd of this size for a prolonged period is extremely dynamic and cannot be reduced to short video clips that you might see on social media.

“Public safety is paramount in these situations and our officers did an incredible job ensuring the demonstrations remained safe for all, despite escalating behaviours, and with minimal impact to traffic and neighbouring Calgarians.”

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