Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was escorted to safety as police broke up a pro-Palestinian Arab protest outside a restaurant in Vancouver where he was dining, authorities said Wednesday, reported the AFP news agency.
A crowd of about 250 pro-Palestinian Arab supporters waving flags and chanting for a ceasefire in Gaza surrounded the venue in the city's Chinatown district. The incident took place on Tuesday evening.
Police said in a statement that 100 officers "assisted in controlling and dispersing the crowd, while the prime minister was escorted out of the restaurant."
One man was arrested for obstruction while another was held for assaulting an officer who was punched in the face and had her eyes gouged, according to AFP.
Vancouver police Sergeant Steve Addison told a news conference that "the actions of the protestors, such as blocking the lane behind the restaurant caused a concern."
The incident occurred after Trudeau caused an uproar when he blasted Israel and said that the "killing of women, of children, of babies" in the Gaza Strip must end.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later responded to Trudeau and wrote on X, “It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust.”
“While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way,” he added.
“Israel provides civilians in Gaza humanitarian corridors and safe zones, Hamas prevents them from leaving at gunpoint. It is Hamas, not Israel, that should be held accountable for committing a double war crime - targeting civilians while hiding behind civilians,” wrote Netanyahu.
“The forces of civilization must back Israel in defeating Hamas barbarism,” he concluded.
Trudeau spoke to Netanyahu at the beginning of October, a day after Hamas’ murderous attack on Israel, telling the Prime Minister at the time that he “unequivocally condemned Hamas’ large-scale attacks against Israel and expressed his deep condolences…for the hundreds of lives lost.”
The two spoke again at the start of November, when Trudeau “expressed Canada’s support for Israel and its right to defend itself in accordance with international law, in the face of Hamas’ brutal attacks,” said a statement from the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office.
The Canadian Prime Minister was also a signatory to a joint statement by the leaders of several countries who expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense, while reiterating the need to protect civilians.