From assaulting an officer to stomping on an Israeli flag, police outline arrests at tense ‘Walk with Israel’ event

From stomping on an Israeli flag to assaulting an officer, Toronto police have outlined why they arrested half-a-dozen people at Sunday’s tension-filled Walk with Israel event.

Police had earlier warned that they wouldn’t hesitate to cuff attendees if their behaviour drifted into suspected criminal territory and made good on that vow, arresting six for various offences at the annual pro-Israel event.

“The right to protest ends where criminal behaviour begins, which includes intimidation, harassment or hateful behaviour,” Deputy Police Chief Lauren Pogue said in a statement leading up to the event. “Those who attend this event and engage in criminal activity can expect to be arrested.”

The event saw an estimated 50,000 members of Toronto’s Jewish community march a five-kilometre stretch in the city’s north end, at times coming face-to-face with counter-protestors chanting “free Palestine!”

Police officers formed barriers between the two groups and tried to quell confrontations, but several incidents still resulted in arrests.

Police outlined the alleged transgressions in a release on Monday.

Officers arrested 32-year-old Lou-i Bou-Chahine in the Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue area after he was accused of displaying antisemitic messaging calling for violence.

Bou-Chahine, of Toronto, faces a single charge of public incitement of hatred.

Syed Raza, 27, of Toronto, was arrested after allegedly throwing an Israeli flag on the ground and stomping on it.

“The incident led to a breach of the peace with officers having to separate the accused from demonstrators,” police said in a release.

Investigators further allege Raza resisted when officers attempted to arrest him.

He was charged with public incitement of hatred and resist a peace officer.

Later, police said a man approached counter-protestors and yelled at them while pushing a camera mounted on a stick into their faces. Police say the man was warned several times, but continued to engage in the same behaviour, prompting his arrested.

Eric Brazau, 59, of Toronto, faces a single count of cause a disturbance.

Another man, Shahrez Bin Salman Salman Hydri, 37, of Beeton, was charged with assaulting a police officer after he allegedly refused the officer’s command to leave private property.

He’s charged with fail to leave premises when directed, obstruct peace officer and assault peace officer.

Michael Bursztejn, 75, of Toronto, is accused of intentionally bumping into a woman wearing a keffiyeh as she was holding her child, causing her to stumble as she walked along Sheppard Avenue.

He faces a single count of assault.

And finally Omar Elkhawass, 22, of Burlington was charged with mischief interfere with property after he allegedly tried to steal an Israeli flag from one of the attendees.

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