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Police arrest B.C. protester who called Hamas attack ‘heroic and brave”

Vancouver police investigating 44-year-old woman on possible hate crime charges
Vancouver police arrested a 44-year-old woman on April 29, 2024, on allegations of hate crimes relating to a speech she gave at a rally in Vancouver. Video of the rally shows a woman praising the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A B.C. woman who was filmed at a Vancouver rally praising the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks was arrested by police this week for alleged hate crimes.

In video widely circulated on social media, Charlotte Kates of the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network was seen speaking outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday (April 26). Addressing several hundred demonstrators, Kates described the attack by Hamas on Israel as “heroic and brave.” She also led demonstrators in a chant of “Long live Oct. 7!”

On Monday, members of the Vancouver Police Department arrested the speaker, who they identified as a 44-year-old Vancouver woman. The department said Wednesday (May 1) that it has since released the woman, but that it is investigating her speech as an alleged hate crime and plans on recommending charges to Crown Counsel.

“We defend everyone’s right to gather and express their opinions, even when those opinions are unpopular or controversial. We also have a responsibility to ensure public comments don’t promote or incite hatred, encourage violence, or make people feel unsafe,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in a statement.

Premier David Eby also condemned the protester’s words, while speaking at an unrelated news conference on Monday.

“It’s reprehensible, and it shouldn’t take place in British Columbia. There is clearly an element of some individuals using an international tragedy to promote hate that’s completely unacceptable,” he said.

READ ALSO: UBC protest camp begins, as Eby deplores ‘most hateful’ Hamas-praising speech

-With files from The Canadian Press