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Police called as demonstrators turn violent at Palestinian community centre

A demonstration in Mississauga against last month’s abduction and killing of three Israeli students turned violent on Thursday when fist fights broke out between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian protesters.

As the brawl erupted around 6 p.m., Peel Regional Police closed down Erindale Station Rd., where several hundred protesters had gathered, and dispatched dozens of vehicles to clear the street. Police separated the two sides without making any arrests.

“We had officers from pretty much every division as well as our tactical team just in case if there were any further incidents,” Peel Police Const. George Tudos told Torstar News Service.

One person suffered minor injuries, EMS said.

The protest was organized by the Canadian branch of the Jewish Defense League.

Duncan Walker, a resident in the area, said a group of Palestinian demonstrators was already in front of the Palestine House community centre when pro-Israeli activists arrived around 5:30 p.m. The gathering soon turned into a shouting match and, later, a scuffle.

“Without police presence, this definitely would have turned violent,” Walker said. “This was a very frightening experience for me.”

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