Arrests made during Israel-Hamas war-related rallies: Vancouver police

A number of “confrontations” at rallies related to the Israel-Hamas war Monday ended in arrests, the Vancouver Police Department says.

Sgt. Steve Addison says the incidents happened “between various people who had come to gather to express themselves, some of those confrontations resulted in our officers having to intervene.”

Addison says charges have not yet been laid, however, officers are continuing to investigate and Addison does expect charges.

“We’ll continue to deploy police officers where needed so that people can feel free and safe, and peacefully assemble. When there’s instances of law-breaking or people making others feel unsafe, we will certainly act quickly to restore order and make sure that people can have an atmosphere where they can be safe,” he said.

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The rallies come after Hamas militants stormed into Israel on Saturday morning, slaying hundreds of residents in homes and streets near the Gaza border and bringing gunbattles to Israeli towns for the first time in decades.

The war, which has already claimed at least 1,800 lives on both sides, is only expected to escalate. The weekend attack, which Hamas said was retribution for worsening Palestinian suffering under Israeli occupation, has fired Israel’s determination to crush the group’s hold in Gaza — hiking risks of an expanded regional conflict.

Addison says as more rallies are in the works, police are encouraging would-be goers to do so in a way that’s “peaceful, respectful, tolerant, and lawful.”

“Anytime we get groups of people together with opposing viewpoints and opposing ideologies, there’s always going to be conflicts and yesterday was no different where we saw people who were very passionate, gather together, not always sharing the same points of view,” he said.

‘”Our hearts go out to everybody who’s affected by what they’re seeing and what they’re hearing about what’s happening happening in the Middle East right now.

“We’ve heard from dozens, if not hundreds, of people who are horrified by what they’ve seen, people in our community who have loved ones overseas who are impacted by the attacks on Israel and the escalation of violence in the Middle East.”

-With files from Michael Williams and The Associated Press

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