Thousands gather for pro-Palestinian demonstration in Toronto, pro-Israeli student rally held at U of T

Thousands of demonstrators gathered for a pro-Palestinian rally in Toronto’s downtown core on Tuesday night that followed a pro-Israeli student rally at the University of Toronto (U of T).

The demonstrations come in the wake of a massive blast that rocked a Gaza City hospital packed with wounded and other Palestinians seeking shelter Tuesday, killing hundreds of people. Hamas blamed an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli military blamed a rocket misfired by other Palestinian militants.

At least 500 people were killed, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The pro-Palestinian gatherers settled outside Toronto’s Israeli consulate in the Bloor Street West and Yonge Street area. Photos from the scene show several people waving a Palestinian flag, with some climbing atop scaffolding at the populous intersection.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023. Photo: Matt Wilkins/CityNews.

The Instagram account “Palestinian Youth Movement” shared details of the scheduled gathering on social media with the photo titled “Emergency Action for Gaza.”

The demonstration, which Toronto police said dispersed around 10 p.m., forced several road closures, including northbound at Yonge and Bloor Street West, southbound Yonge and Charles Streets, eastbound at Bloor and Bay, and westbound at Bloor and Church.

There are no longer any road closures in place.

A Toronto police spokesperson said officers attended the intersection to ensure the protest remained peaceful.

U of T students gathered at the school for a pro-Israeli demonstration on Tuesday afternoon, including pro-Palestinian supporters. Police and campus security remained on scene, keeping the peace.

No injuries were reported.

A Peel Regional Police spokesperson issued a statement on a separate protest in the Burnhamthorpe Road West and Hurontario Street area in Mississauga on Tuesday night, saying officers will remain present to “respond to any unlawful activities.”

Peel Regional Police said the protest dispersed late on Tuesday night “without any further incident.”

With files from The Associated Press

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