On May 15, 2021 thousands answered the call of the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and gathered at Nathan Philip Square in Toronto to commemorate “the 73rd year of the Palestinian catastrophe” – the Nakbah. The annual event is generally commemorated on 15 May, the day after the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel in its place.
During the rally a group of protesters bearing a Palestinian flag swarmed and brutally assaulted a small number of pro-Israel demonstrators.
A video taken by a demonstrator at the pro-Palestinian rally sheds light on the circumstances that led to the attack on pro-Israel demonstrators.
The video shows two police officers escorting a group of pro-Israeli supporters carrying Israeli flags, while pro-Palestinian protesters carrying Palestinian flags and “Free Palestine” signs, shout “Shame on you.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters attempt to charge the pro-Israeli group, whom they greatly outnumber, but are prevented by the police. A female pro-Palestinian protester breaks through the police chain, but is escorted back to her side.
As the camera pans to the right, a crowd of at least a thousand angry pro-Palestinian protesters is shouting, “Free, free Palestine”. They are seen pushing and shoving dozens of police officers who are trying to prevent them from reaching the small group of about 20 pro-Israel supporters.
At one point, about a dozen angry males do break through the police chain and run towards the pro-Israel supporters. After one of them throws a bottle, police officers forcefully push them back.
The main body of the protesters is now held back several dozen police officers. The crowd chants repeatedly “Allahu Akhbar” (Allah is the Greatest), “Viva, Viva Palestina”, and “We’ll sacrifice our blood and soul for the sake of Al-Aqsa” (in Arabic). Several protesters rip an Israeli flag, and stomp on it to the delight of the pro-Palestinian protesters.
An eyewitness to the incident is heard on the video describing the unfolding incident as follows:
Shame on you. F—— Jew
They [pro-Israel supporters] are running away, folks
They are running away like dogs
They are running away like dogs
They are taking them away, their police [Toronto Police]
They are taking them away like dogs from our midst
The young men are collecting bricks, folks
They are running away
The young men beat them hard
What happened was that 20 dogs were in our midst
Of course the Police arrived
The Special Forces protected them
Later the number of our people has grown, I cannot estimate the number, the number of our people was very very big
The Police placed a barrier to take them away from our midst and they would have eaten them alive [eliminated them]
The young men are a bit exited
The Police of course separated between us [here] and them there, the dogs [were] there
I’m moving backward, I’m moving backward. I’m filming the scene
The young men are exited and they completely removed them from our midst
The mistake in the first place was that the Police allowed them coming [here] and protected them in out midst
Our number of people is exceeding at least 20,000 [twenty thousands] and they around 20 [twenty] and the Police allowed them stand in our midst
A participant at the pro-Israel demonstration told CanadaDocs: “I attended the protest at Toronto City Hall. A pro Palestinian supporter was yelling at me:I’ll kill you. He made hand movements of hanging me and also moving his hand across his throat as a sign of cutting my throat. I tried to video him but it was too dangerous to look at your phone as they were throwing plastic water bottles glass bottles and rocks at us.”