Pro-Palestinian, pro-Israel City Hall rallies attracts hundreds

Hundreds of Calgarians gathered at City Hall on Friday night — some in support of Palestinians, some in support of Israelis with police on hand to keep the peace.

Violence broke out at a similar event last week

7:15 p.m. MT: Hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters are chanting as emotions rise at Calgary City Hall. (Carla Beynon/CBC)

Hundreds of Calgarians gathered at City Hall on Friday night — some in support of Palestinians, some in support of Israelis with police on hand to keep the peace. 

The two groups faced each other along Macleod Trail, and two lines of police separated the groups. The groups started to gather at 6 p.m. and dispersed just after 8 p.m. MT. No arrests were made. 

Earlier Friday, police said they were ready for anything. The police contingent included uniformed officers, undercover officers and some on mountain bikes.

6:30 p.m. MT: At City Hall, a pro-Palestine group gathered on one side of Macleod Trail and a pro-Israel group on the other. Two lines of police separate two groups. (Carla Beynon/CBC)

Last Friday, violence broke out at a pro-Gaza rally, when Israel supporters showed up. No charges were laid. 

Gaza rally organizers apologized for the violence earlier this week.

On Wednesday, at a rally at the Calgary Jewish Community Centre a man was arrested after police said he was bringing in two airsoft handguns. Police laid a number of weapons charges against the man Thursday.  

The Calgary Police Service's spokesperson Kevin Brookwell said Friday afternoon police expected the protest to be loud and emotional.

“We expect that it will be a very passionate, very vocal demonstration, each side representing their points of view and their feelings. We will allow them to do that and we will ensure the peace is kept,” said Brookwell.

“Our role is to ensure the peace, and so we will have a police response that we can wrap up or wrap down accordingly,” he says.

Brookwell says rally organizers from both sides promised a peaceful, family oriented event.

6:15 p.m. MT: A pro-Palestinian rally underway at City Hall. The group gathered at 6 p.m. MT with plans to march. (Carla Beynon/CBC)
Demonstrators, and police, started to gather before 6 p.m. MT at Calgary City Hall. (Carla Beynon/CBC)

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