Pro-Palestinian protest (illustration)
Pro-Palestinian protest (illustration)Flash90

A man was on Sunday arrested after allegedly bringing a nail gun to a demonstration in Thornhill, a suburb of Toronto, local police said, according to CP24.

York Regional Police (YRP) said they attended the demonstration, which took place near several local synagogues, at around 9:00 a.m. local time.

According to those present, the demonstration was organized in protest of a real estate event hosted by the Home In Israel Real Estate Group.

CTV News Toronto reached out to the organization, along with parent company Keller Williams, but has not received a response.

Police said the action was “peaceful” and attended by about 100 individuals.

At around 11:30 a.m., YRP confirmed that a man equipped with a nail gun had been arrested and was under investigation.

Those present said the man was acting aggressively towards demonstrators.

In a video shared widely on social media and reviewed by CTV News Toronto, a man holding what appears to be a nail gun can be seen grabbing a person wearing a keffiyeh.

Police said no injuries had been reported and have not indicated if a charge will be laid.

Responding to Sunday’s incident. B’nai Brith Canada urged police across the country to prevent similar planned protests from taking place at other Jewish institutions.

B’nai Brith said in a statement has learned that anti-Israel protesters intend to cause disturbances at synagogues in Montreal and Thornhill, Ont. this Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

“Nothing justifies targeting a house of worship,” said Richard Robertson, B’nai Brith Canada’s Director of Research and Advocacy. “To target a shul is antisemitic and can never be tolerated in Canadian society.”

“It is not far-fetched to suggest that these protests constitute a legitimate threat to public safety,” Robertson added. “Canadian police forces must take proactive measures to deter radicals from organizing protest that are not only shameful, antisemitic acts, but that pose a legitimate threat to the wellbeing of the public.”

“Members of the Jewish community rightfully fear that their synagogues could become the sites of regular, hostile demonstrations, similar to the Avenue Road Overpass,” Robertson warned. “Today’s debauchery cannot become a precedent for other radicals to follow in Thornhill, Montreal, or anywhere else.

“We thank the police for doing their best today in Thornhill and call upon all Canadian police forces to protect the sanctity of Jewish houses of worship, and to ensure the well being of members of the Jewish community, before the situation grows even more chaotic,” he concluded.

Toronto and the area have seen an increase in acts of antisemitism since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas on October 7.

In early November, an Indigo book store in downtown Toronto was vandalized with red paint and posters plastered on its front windows wrongfully accusing its Jewish founder and CEO, Heather Reisman, of “Funding Genocide.”

In January, a Jewish-owned grocery store in Toronto was spray-painted with the words “Free Palestine” and later set on fire.

Days later, Toronto police arrested four people on a highway overpass, located near a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, that has become the site of recurring pro-Palestinian Arab protests.

In February, an anti-Israel protest at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto turned into a display of antisemitism. At least one protester was documented scaling the hospital with a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag.