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Victoria Police Rejects Claims that Prosecutor’s Reluctance is the Reason for Few Arrests at Anti-Israel Demonstrations

Victoria Police deny that their chief is blaming reluctant Crown prosecutors for the lack of arrests at disruptive anti-Israel protests, saying it’s a misunderstanding.

The Conservative Party of B.C. made the claim on social media.

“Conservatives have now learned that Victoria’s Police Chief has, in a private meeting, pinned his department’s reluctance to make arrests on the unwillingness of Crown prosecutors, who report to the Attorney General, to proceed with charges,” a March 7 social media
post said.

However, the police department denies the claim. “This sounds like a misunderstanding, and is not what Chief [Del] Manak would have stated,” the Victoria Police Department said in an email to The Epoch Times.

“VicPD recognizes everyone’s right to freedom of expression and lawful assembly, and to demonstrate in public spaces, including streets, as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” the email said.

“Participants are also always asked to remember the limits of lawful demonstration. Officers are on site at demonstrations to preserve the peace and maintain public safety for all. We police behaviour, not beliefs.”

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The Epoch Times also reached out to the B.C. Prosecution Service Office and B.C.’s attorney general but did not hear back by publication time.

Disruptive pro-Palestine protests have been taking place in Victoria for months.

On Feb. 28, protesters
blocked the entrance to Lockheed Martin’s offices, which are shared with the Canadian Defence Department.

On March 2, pro-Palestinian protesters in Toronto disrupted an event at the Art Gallery of Ontario where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni were expected to attend. Instead, the event was cancelled after protesters blocked the doors to get inside the gallery.

Protesters have also
interrupted House of Commons proceedings, chanting ‘Free Palestine. Stop arming Israel.’

Critics have been decrying the lack of police action.

“Why is the angry mob allowed to gather but those who want to go to a peaceful event are not? These mob events are not Charter protected,” Toronto city councillor James Pasternak
said on X on March 3, in reference to the Art Gallery of Ontario incident.

Accusations of Anti-Semitism in Caucus

The Conservative Party social media post also referenced B.C. NDP caucus member Selina Robinson’s recent resignation letter, which cites anti-Semitism in the caucus as her reason for leaving.

In her letter, the MLA said the lack of support for the Jewish community following the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 “broke her heart,” leaving her feeling “abandoned.”

“My community needed you in that moment to be there in their grief and in my grief and none of you were prepared or willing to stand up to colleagues who were antisemitic,” she

Ms. Robinson made the announcement on March 6, saying she will be sitting as an independent.

Premier David Eby said it was a “humbling” moment for him, but he disagreed with her comments about the caucus, saying he supports all its members.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report. 

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