Planned protests prompt cops to beef up their presence in Mississauga

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Published October 13, 2023 at 2:06 pm

Building evacuated in due to 'unknown odour' in Brampton

A number of protests planned for today and over the weekend in Mississauga in response to the fighting between Israel and Hamas has police promising an “increased and visible presence to monitor and respond to any unlawful activities.”

While Peel Regional Police said in a statement on Friday afternoon that they’re aware of several planned protests set to take place in Mississauga and that they respect the right to peacefully protest, “our duty and responsibility remains to maintain public order and ensure the safety of everyone.”

The statement continued: “As such, we are asking the cooperation of the public to engage and facilitate in peaceful and lawful protests.”

While police didn’t say where, specifically, the protests will take place, they committed to a beefed-up presence at such gatherings across the city as a precaution.

“Peel Regional Police will have increased and visible presence to monitor and respond to any unlawful activities. Any acts of violence, threats of violence or vandalism will be investigated,” police said in their statement.

A City of Mississauga spokesperson told insauga.com Friday afternoon that one “potential protest” is planned for Saturday afternoon at Celebration Square in the downtown core.

The spokesperson said it’s the city’s understanding that the protest is called “All Out for Gaza.”

“The City of Mississauga prioritizes safety and respect for all. The city’s security team has been in touch with Peel Regional Police and will work with them and take appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our residents and employees,” the city spokesperson wrote in an email.

In a statement, Mississauga acting Mayor Chris Fonseca stressed that any gatherings or protests that condone violence are not acceptable.

“I’ve been made aware of an unsanctioned ‘All Out for Gaza’ demonstration scheduled to take place (Saturday) at Celebration Square. I want to be clear that I strongly denounce any protests that send messages that condone the violence occurring in the Middle East or celebrate the loss of innocent lives as a result of this conflict,” Fonseca’s statement reads. 

“Mississauga is proud to be home to a vibrant Jewish and Palestinian community, who for decades have lived peacefully in harmony as neighbours and friends. Divisiveness is not reflective of who we are as a city and the values of diversity, inclusion and peace that we’ve become known for here in Mississauga.”

The statement from the acting mayor also notes that while Celebration Square is a public gathering place and “freedom of speech is protected,” city security and police will be there to prevent any unlawful or violent behaviour.

Earlier this week, Peel police also committed to increasing their presence at places of worship in Mississauga and Brampton in the wake of online global threats related to the Israel-Hamas war.

Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said in a statement on Thursday that they’re aware of the “global online threats of violence” and in response have increased police presence around places of worship.

The heightened level of preparedness by police in Peel is being mirrored by law enforcement across the GTA.

A surprise attack last Saturday by Hamas against Israel that killed hundreds and the continued fighting all week has reverberated around the globe.

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