Israel support rally held as Jewish Defence League plans Calgary branch

Nearly 500 people attended a demonstration at City Hall on Thursday night called the "Calgary for Israel Rally."

Mood was peaceful at City Hall rally until arrival on other side of street of pro-Palestinian demonstrators

A small group of Palestinian supporters showed up. Police separated them from the larger crowd of Israel supporters. (Devin Heroux/CBC)

Nearly 500 people attended a demonstration at City Hall on Thursday night called the "Calgary for Israel Rally."

The mood was peaceful until the arrival on the other side of Macleod Trail of a handful of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. 

However police kept the two factions apart and there was no violence.

The pro-Israeli crowd heard several speakers including conservative personality and author Ezra Levant. 

There have been a number of rallies in Calgary over the last few weeks.

Violence broke out at a July 18 pro-Palestinian rally when Israel supporters showed up to stage a protest of their own. The Gaza rally organizers later apologized for the violence. 

Then, on July 23, a man was arrested at an Israel solidarity rally for possession of a weapon. The 26-year-old is now facing a number of weapons charges. 

Now, the Jewish Defence League of Canada says they've been asked to set up shop in the city. 

"We received a lot of calls from concerned people in Calgary concerned about some violence that has taken place against those who support Israel," said leader Meir Weinstein. 

Weinstein says they will set up in the city this August. 

"We already have some people who are supporters that we have been in touch with before and will solidify it," she said.

"We would provide protection and see to it that, to the best to our ability, that no one is attacked. We have a full right to wave the Israel flag."

Weinstein says the Toronto-based organization is also looking at opening branches in Vancouver and Ottawa.