Hamilton

8 people charged after anti-lockdown gathering, 12 following pro-Palestine protest

Police say eight people were charged at a Hugs over Masks protest, and 12 at a pro-Palestine demonstration.

2 organizers of a pro-Palestine demonstration were charged under the Reopening Ontario Act

Hamilton police say 22 people were charged following two demonstrations in the city on Sunday. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Hamilton police say 22 people were charged following two demonstrations outside city hall over the weekend.

The first was a Hugs Over Masks event on Sunday that saw more than 20 people gather, say police.

Later that same day, police estimate nearly 1,000 people participated in a protest condemning violence against Palestinians. Demonstrations were held across Canada over the weekend amid rising violence in the Middle East.

Ontario is currently under a stay-at-home order, and police say both demonstrations exceeded the number of people permitted to gather together outdoors.

The service issued a statement on Twitter on Friday urging people not to get together and warning people who organize or attend public events could face charges under the Reopening Ontario Act.

"We are asking everyone to abide by the stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of COVID-19," police said in the statement. "Please be mindful and respectful of the current legislation and stay away from public gatherings."

The charges handed out on Sunday came from police and bylaw officers.

Police say eight people were charged at the Hugs over Masks protest and 12 at the pro-Palestine demonstration, along with two of its organizers who were charged under the Reopening Ontario Act.

With hundreds in attendance at the pro-Palestine event, police say they will continue to review information they gathered during it and may lay more charges.

now