A protest in Mississauga – a neighboring city of Toronto and part of the Greater Toronto Area- against the killing of three Israeli youth turned into a brawl Thursday between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators.
The protest, which took place outside of Palestine House, a known Hamas supporter, and was attended by some 200 people, reached almost near riot levels as local police had to shut down the surrounding area, local news outlets reported. Three people sustained minor injuries.
According to Police, the protest took an ugly turn when members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) of Canada began gathering outside the Palestine House and were met with a less-than-friendly group of protestors from Palestine House, who were already in front of the building waiting to confront the pro-Israel activists.
After bouts of shouting for some time, the pro-Palestinian protesters turned violent, first throwing punches and then attacking with sticks that were used to hold up picket signs as well as Canadian and Palestinian flags.
A video that caught the incident on camera shows one Palestinian approaching pro-Israel activists with an attack dog.
JDL members told local news that they were protesting the kidnapping and deaths of three Jewish teens in Hebron, which Israel has blamed on the Islamic terror group Hamas.
Regional paramedics were on scene, along with several police officers who eventually controlled the situation. Local Police Chief George Tudos told the media that the clash involved groups from “two different parties with opposing views based on world-wide events going on right now.”
Police “responded in numbers,” Tudos said. Heavily-armed tactical officers also reported to the scene in case events got too far out of hand.
“Without police presence, this definitely would have turned violent,” eye-witness Duncan Walker said to The Toronto Star. “This was a very frightening experience for me.”