Hate a motivating factor after man charged with threatening pro-Palestinian demonstrators with nail gun: police

Police in York Region say hate was a motivating factor in an altercation at a demonstration last weekend in Thornhill between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian supporters that resulted in the arrest of one man.

Police say more than 100 people had gathered in the area of Clark Avenue West and South Promenade, just west of Bathurst Street, to protest an Israeli real estate exhibition that was promoting land for purchase in Israel, including the occupied West Bank.

Police say the demonstrators were engaged in what they said was a peaceful protest when a man approached pro-Palestinian demonstrators in his vehicle and began shouting obscenities at them. According to police, he then became confrontational with three of the protesters with one of the victims claiming the man discharged a nail gun he was carrying.

Video that was shared across social media shows the man holding a nail gun and threatening several others around him.

No serious injuries were reported by police.

Police say Ilan-Reuben Abramov of Vaughan has been charged with two counts of assault, possessing weapons dangerous to the public, assault with a weapon, and mischief.

Investigators say they have determined that hate was a motivating factor in the incident and should Abramov be found guilty of the offences, hate-motivated aggravating factors will be presented at sentencing.

Police say several arrests were made at a similar demonstration in the same area on Thursday.

“Arrests were made and we will continue to investigate any criminal acts that took place throughout the demonstration,” police said in a brief statement without providing any further details about those who were taken into custody.

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