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The Mayor of Ottawa wants to avoid an escalation of tensions this weekend

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Several dozen demonstrators displaying pro-Palestinian colors are massed in the streets of downtown Ottawa this week. (Archive photo)


As a weekend approaches during which several demonstrations are planned in Ottawa, the mayor Mark Sutcliffe stands behind the old adage that prevention is better than cure.

He published a letter Friday in which he said he wanted to ensure security and peace in the capital, without directly naming the conflict between Hamas and Israel. He chose to bring together Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious leaders to send a message condemning any form of discrimination, violence or hatred.

It worries me. So far everything is going without much violence, but I know there are problems in other cities. We don't want these problems in Ottawa, Mr. Sutcliffe said in an interview. I hope that even if there is a difference of opinion, that Ottawa remains safe and secure and that there is no racism or violence here.

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Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe (File photo)

So far, the letter has garnered 35 signatories from different religious communities.

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) also says it is preparing for another busy weekend, due to protests planned downtown on Saturday and Sunday. Various measures are being put in place to respond to any scenario, according to a press release shared Friday.

Police officers are already planning the closure of Metcalfe Street between Queen and Wellington streets. Temporary closures could also temporarily affect other downtown arteries, such as Wellington, Elgin and Bank streets, in addition to Laurier Avenue.

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Several hundred people demonstrated in support of Israel in front of Ottawa City Hall (Archive photo).

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hNZoeU">The OPS warns the population that an increased police presence is expected, especially in the city center, and that illegal behavior and vehicle-based demonstrations will be subject to a zero-tolerance policy.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hNZoeU">The police also promise to keep an eye out for hateful behavior of all kinds, which could be seen in demonstrations in other cities.

Separately, a group of 33 federal MPs sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada calling for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Elected officials, including Yasir Naqvi, Liberal MP for Ottawa Centre, also encourage the federal government to push for the opening of 'a humanitarian corridor to help the inhabitants of Gaza.

Police are closely monitoring a protest movement taking place near Ottawa< /p>

New demonstrations in support of Israel and Palestine in Ottawa

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116