Loading articles...

1 arrested as anti-LGBTQ protesters draw crowd in Church and Wellesley neighbourhood

Last Updated Jun 24, 2019 at 8:37 am EST

On the day Toronto Mayor John Tory proclaimed this month Pride Month, anti-LGBTQ protesters attracted some attention in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood, leading to one arrest.

About 30 to 40 people were gathered as the protesters from the Christ Forgiveness and Torch of Christ movements delivered messages against the LGBTQ community, some in support of the messages, some not.

Officers were called to the scene and arrested one of the street preachers, claiming he was causing a disturbance after not complying with police.

“The difficulty becomes when that expression on loud speaker and using screaming and insulting language results in people responding in a negative way, ” Sgt. Henry Dyck explained.

“Unfortunately at that point, as you can see, the safety of everybody can be put at risk.”

On Wednesday, Const. David Hopkinson said the man is facing charge of causing a disturbance and is expected to appear in court later in the day.

“We don’t have enough evidence currently to charge him with anything that relates to a hate speech or a hate crime. However, we would like more videos to come in from the community that shows what he was taking about,” Hopkinson said.

Philip Blair, another street preacher involved, said the arrest is a small price to pay.

“We believe that it’s worth the persecution against us. We believe it’s worth the arrest. The truth is always going to be a very difficult, complex subject,” he explained.

Last month when a standoff between street preachers and counter-protesters turned violent, residents of The Village said police response time was “grossly inadequate.”