At last week’s rally for a permanent ceasefire in Palestine, a man drove his vehicle through traffic and attempted to hit a pedestrian who was involved in the peaceful protest.
He was caught on camera shouting racially motivated obscenities at another protester after his failed attempt at hitting the pedestrian.
Police quickly moved in and apprehended the man and subsequently arrested him.
According to VicPD, charges of attempted assault with a dangerous weapon and reckless driving were recommended for the man, but since his arrest, he has been released.
VicPD has since been scrutinized online for not recommending charges related to hate crimes for this altercation.
Victoria Buzz reached out to VicPD to ascertain whether or not he had been charged yet, as well as why he had not been charged with hate crimes in this incident.
“There is no specific criminal code charge for ‘hate crime,’ but it can be an aggravating factor upon sentencing (after a person is convicted of a criminal offence) if there is evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate,” said Cst. Terri Healy, Community Engagement Division with VicPD.
Healy continued by explaining that there are criminal code offences relating to hate propaganda, advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred as well as mischief that is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate.
These circumstances may apply to the man who was arrested last week, but VicPD says that the file is still under investigation, which is why charges have yet to be laid.
Despite the incident which occurred last week, hundreds of people still plan on showing up to the peaceful rally for a ceasefire in Palestine which has been a weekly occurrence for several months.
The rallies began after Israel’s retaliation from the tragic October 7th Hamas attack upon innocent Israeli citizens in which around 1,200 lost their lives and 240 hostages were taken.
Since then, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, over 17,000 innocent people have been killed by Israeli forces — which includes around 7,000 children. Approximately 46,000 innocent Palestinians have been reported wounded.
This death toll is unprecedented for the region and has taken place in just over 60 days.
The rally taking place at the BC legislature this Saturday, December 9th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. is not one in favour of violence. It is being planned as a peaceful call for action from Canada’s government and the Province to call for a ceasefire from their Israeli allies.
The event is taking place to mourn the massive loss of life and to call for the end of a genocidal attack upon an entire ethnic group.
In the weekly rallies, organizers have made sure to include Indigenous perspectives as well as local Jewish community leaders. These communities know how genocide can impact a populus and their perspectives and narratives are imperative to the Palestinian organizers of these rallies.
As a source, Victoria Buzz spoke with a local youth with Palestinian ties who has been heavily involved in the efforts thus far. That individual has since had threats uttered against them and out of respect for their safety they will not be named.
This individual said that protesters present at all rallies for peace are encouraged to not confront violent or aggressive behaviour from counter-protesters and organizers of these events have been working with VicPD to ensure everyone present is being protected.