British Columbia·Video

Vancouver police seek witnesses to violent confrontations at transgender rally

Vancouver police say they are investigating two violent confrontations at a rally in the city marking International Transgender Day of Visibility.

VPD has released 2 profanity-laden videos and images showing shoving, pushing

Two people grab at each other at a park in Vancouver.
An attendee of a rally marking International Trans Day of Visibility in Vancouver on Friday is shown in a scuffle with a protester. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Warning: This story describes details of violence and contains links to footage showing violence.

Vancouver police say they are investigating two violent confrontations at a rally in the city marking International Transgender Day of Visibility.

Investigators have released images of two people, as well as video from Grandview Park that shows the two people involved in incidents where others were shouted at, grabbed, and thrown to the ground.

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) says the video and images it posted online come from someone police describe as a victim. Police are making them public with the hope that more people who witnessed the altercations will come forward with information.

WATCH | Video shows rally attendee being pushed to the ground: 

Vancouver Police Department seek witnesses after confrontations at transgender rights rally

2 months ago
Duration 0:09
Footage shows one person reaching out and pushing another to the ground as officers intervene.

"Investigators believe there may be additional witnesses who have not spoken to police, as well as bystander video that may show different perspectives of what occurred," said a release from VPD.

Detectives are reviewing bystander video, eyewitness accounts and victim statements from the event.

Police estimate between 75 and 100 people attended the rally at the park, including those who were there to protest the event.

Police say they believe at least two people were assaulted. 

A composite photograph of one person with long blonde hair yelling and another man with short brown hair.
Vancouver police released images of these two people on April 1, in hopes of having more witnesses to the violent confrontations at the rally come forward with information. (Vancouver Police Department)

CBC News attended the rally and witnessed the confrontations, one of which included a group of people chanting profanities at Chris Elston, a man well known for protests and counter-rallies focused on consent for medical procedures and what he calls "gender ideology."

Elston was grabbed by another person and thrown to the ground, CBC News witnessed, and the videos show.

WATCH | Profanities exchanged at heated rally: 

Vancouver police release videos of confrontations from trans rights rally

2 months ago
Duration 0:11
Footage shows a person shouting profanities at another individual before grabbing them and throwing them to the ground.

VPD said it has also contacted a person who posted a video of the assault online, for that person to provide a statement and share their footage.

One of the speakers at the rally was 15-year-old 7even Perks, who uses the pronouns it/its and came out as non-binary three years ago.

It said at the rally that it was important for people to be able to gather and support each other.

"The one thing that I felt is that we were the only ones going through this ... but the reality is you're not," Perks said at the rally.

Police did not say if any arrests were made at the park on Friday, where more than a dozen officers were in attendance.

On Sunday VPD's Deputy Chief Howard Chow said over social media that he was "appalled'' by the "vile and abusive comments'' officers have received on Twitter about policing the rally.

In a separate Saturday tweet, Chow said policing demonstrations and protests are challenging, and protecting the right to free speech is "one of the most important'' aspects of the job.


In the original release the department said it supports everyone's right to peacefully gather and express views.

"When violence and disorder occurs, our priority is to restore order quickly and to prevent further escalation of violence," it said.

It has not said what charges the force may recommend to the B.C. Prosecution Service based on its investigation. 


  • This story has been updated to add context and attribution about one of the confrontations captured on video.
    Apr 03, 2023 12:30 PM PT


Chad Pawson is a CBC News reporter in Vancouver. You can contact him at

With files from the Canadian Press