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Three people charged after demonstration outside Thornhill synagogue

York Regional Police have laid charges against three people in connection with three separate incidents during a demonstration outside a synagogue in Vaughan on Thursday.

The demonstration was held on Clark Avenue, just east of Bathurst Street. Pro-Palestinian protesters and pro-Israel counter-protesters lined up on opposite sides of the street, with police standing in between the groups to keep them apart.

On Friday, police gave an update on the arrests made during the demonstration.

Police said one man was taken into custody after being observed by officers allegedly carrying a knife. He has been identified as 40-year-old Kevin Haas of Markham and charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous person.

In another incident, one protester allegedly assaulted a woman and was immediately arrested. Police say 32-year-old Meir Greichter has been charged with assault.

The third incident began as a verbal fight between a man and a woman, police say. It escalated when the woman allegedly threatened to spray a coyote repellent at the man. She was quickly arrested.

Police say 48-year-old Ina Sandler has been charged with possessing weapons dangerous to the public and assault with a weapon.

The hate crime prevention unit has been engaged, police say, adding that they take the incidents seriously and any form of hate crime will not be tolerated.

“All reports of hate crime or hate/bias incidents will be investigated thoroughly,” police say.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators were opposing an event at the synagogue, which they claimed included the promotion of real estate purchases in the West Bank – a territory Israel captured in 1967. Organizers of the event denied the claim. The international community, including Canada, overwhelmingly considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal.

Anyone with information about the incidents is being asked to contact police at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 7241 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.1800222tips.com.

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