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Toronto Police Shut Down Highway Overpass to accomodate allahu akbar pro-hamas protest



Toronto police closed off the Avenue Road overpass across Highway 401 on New Year’s Day due to safety concerns around a pro-Palestinian protest in the area related to the current war in Gaza.

Police said there would be no access to Avenue Road from the highway.

“Police are on scene to enforce this in order to keep demonstrators, counter-demonstrators, and passing traffic safe. Stay tuned for re-opening details,” the Toronto Police Service (TPS) posted on X, formerly Twitter, at 3:04 p.m. local time.
Over the weekend, police had to shut down the same overpass for a similar pro-Palestine protest that included a prayer session just before noon on Dec. 30, 2023.
Canadian politicians have expressed concern over the targeting of Jews who live in the area.

“Those who call the Avenue Rd & 401 a ‘Zionist Infested Area’ betray their clearly Antisemitic intent to incite hatred towards a Jewish neighbourhood,” Mr. Mendicino wrote. “This is unacceptable.”

He also said he is working with other leaders in the province and the City of Toronto to keep the area safe.

“I’ve directly engaged my provincial and municipal counterparts, as well as the @TorontoPolice Chief. Those who commit hate crimes need to be held accountable,” he added. “Everyone in our cities, our communities, and our neighbourhoods has the right to be safe.”

Ontario’s solicitor general, Michael Karzner, also expressed concern about the targeting of a Jewish neighbourhood.

“Everyone has the right to be part of the fabric of Ontario. The Jewish community should not be subject to acts of fear,” wrote the Conservative MPP in a post on X earlier on the same day.
“Yesterday’s blockade in Armour Heights was completely unacceptable. Protests should not cause intimidation or disrupt public order.”

‘Far From Random’​

Armour Heights is one of the neighbourhoods in the Avenue Road and Highway 401 area, in the district of North York, impacted during the Dec. 30, 2023, police blockade.
James Pasternak, Toronto city councillor for the area, said comments like the ones in the video posted by Mr. Mendicino needed to be condemned.

“The hateful messaging and threats against the Jewish community in the video must be condemned by all,” Mr. Pasternak wrote on X. “I will be working with @TPSOperations to keep the community safe and keep hateful mobs away.”
Mr. Pasternak also thanked Mr. Mendicino for his support.

The president of a non-profit human rights organization that focuses on Holocaust education said the Avenue Road and 401 area was being deliberately targeted.

“Let’s be clear, the targeting of the Avenue Road overpass in north Toronto by the anti-Israel mob is far from random. That overpass is a few hundred meters from a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and is home to multiple synagogues and Jewish schools,” Michael Levitt wrote in a Dec. 31, 2023, social media post.
Mr. Levitt is president and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and a former MP for York Centre.

“As the former MP for that riding, I join @PasternakTO in condemning this attempt to intimidate the local Jewish community, and I urgently call on @MayorOliviaChow to speak out.”

Jewish Communities Targeted​

The protests are part of an ongoing targeting of Jewish communities in Canada.
On Nov. 15, 2023, the Anne & Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, a community Jewish high school located in North York, was evacuated around noon after police received a bomb threat.
Police closed roads around the school and deployed a K9 police service dog unit to assist in the investigation. A TPS spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email statement at the time that a synagogue and daycare in the area were also evacuated as a precaution.
In October 2023, a Toronto restaurant was targeted by a group of pro-Palestinian protesters who were calling for a boycott of the business. Footage shared on social media also shows some individuals in the crowd calling it a “Zionist cafe.”
Jewish schools in Montreal have been hit with bullets more than once, and a synagogue and Jewish community centre were firebombed as the city saw attacks against Jewish targets on the rise.
Pro-Palestinian protests began after Israel launched military operations in early October 2023 in response to a surprise attack by Gaza-based Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, 2023.

Toronto police said in a Dec. 19, 2023 news release that among all of the “hate crimes” reported in the city between Oct. 7 and Dec. 17, 2023, 53 percent were anti-Semitic.
“Between October 7 and December 17, 2023, there have been 98 hate crime occurrences reported in Toronto, compared to 48 in 2022 during the same time period. This includes 56 anti-Semitic hate crimes reported (versus 18 during the same period last year [in 2022]), 20 anti-Muslim/Palestinian/Arab hate crimes reported (versus 2 during the same period last year),” the release said.

There were 338 reported hate crimes from Jan. 1 to Dec. 17, 2023, according to the TPS news release. Of those, 147 were against Jews and 37 were considered anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian, or anti-Arab.