TORONTO (JTA) – The Ontario government has denied permission to hold a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel rally on the grounds of the provincial legislature in Toronto.
The legislature’s sergeant-at-arms denied the permit request for the July 17 or July 18 rally on the grounds of the legislative buildings, known as Queen’s Park, the Canadian Jewish News reported, citing a statement issued on Wednesday by B’nai Brith Canada.
A B’nai Brith Canada petition calling on the legislature to deny the request garnered 3,000 signatures.
In a letter to a Toronto legislator saying no permit would be issued, the sergeant-at-arms cited the city’s impending Pan Am Games and Parapan Games as the reasons, according to the Canadian Jewish News.
“Although the Sergeant-at-Arms’ decision this year is tied to considerations regarding the Pan Am and Parapan American Games in Toronto, he must go further and take this opportunity to declare that permits for divisive hate-rallies will no longer be issued in the future,” B’nai Brith Canada said in a statement.
Global Al-Quds Day rallies were established in 1979 by the government of Iran to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and denounce Israel’s existence.
Past Al-Quds Day rallies at Queen’s Park featured speakers and protesters labeling Jews and Israelis as “inhuman” and “sadistic,” and calling for a two-minute warning before Israelis should be shot. The latter remark prompted a police investigation.
Protesters also have waved flags and symbols of Hezbollah, which is banned in Canada as a terrorist organization.