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Toronto police arrest 6 people at pro-Palestinian demonstration

Toronto police arrested and charged six people at a pro-Palestinian demonstration Saturday.

A “large demonstration” took place at Yonge and Dundas streets at 2:23 p.m., police said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. Demonstrators made their way through the downtown core before ending in the area of Parliament and Front streets, according to police. 

One person was first arrested at the demonstration near Parliament and Gerrard streets, and charged under the Highway Traffic Act, police said in a post on X at around 5:25 p.m. 

Shortly after 8 p.m., police said five demonstrators were arrested and charged near Parliament and Gerrard streets. They did not immediately provide the charges. Police told CBC Toronto more details are expected to be released later Sunday.

“For safety reasons, officers have been cautioning demonstration organizers [and drivers specifically] for over a month about not having people in the bed of the truck or attached trailer while it is in motion,” said police spokesperson Laurie McCann in an email Saturday.

“We made it clear that this stipulation would be in effect at all demonstrations.”

McCann said demonstrators “ignored” the rule and a driver of a truck was charged as a result.

Protesters were calling Saturday for Canada to demand a permanent ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, a complete arms embargo and sanctions against Israel. 

Airstrikes and Israel’s ground offensive have left 32,705 Palestinians dead, local health authorities said Saturday. The war began after Hamas-led militants stormed across southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 others hostage, according to the Israeli government.

In a post on Instagram, Palestinian Youth Movement Toronto said organizers and attendees were protesting outside 51 Division Saturday, demanding the release of the six people arrested. The organization later said all six were eventually released.

Police could not confirm any details of the releases at this time.

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