Police are investigating after a vehicle drove through a pro-Palestinian demonstration in East Vancouver on Friday.
Dozens of people at the demonstration, organized by the group Jews Against Genocide Vancouver, had blocked the intersection of Clark and Venables streets to vehicles in all directions around 10:30 a.m, according to Vancouver police.
Videos shared on social media show a vehicle driving northbound on Clark through upturned neon buckets and protesters in the intersection's south side.
"It is alleged a driver entered the intersection as the protest was underway and was briefly surrounded by protesters before continuing through the intersection and driving away," Vancouver police said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Police are also "investigating reports that protesters attempted to open a door on the car while the driver was inside," said the statement.
Demonstrators calling for a ceasefire in Gaza blocked the intersection of Clark and Venables in East Vancouver on Nov. 3, 2023. (CBC News)
The videos show a person attempting to block the vehicle with a bike, but the vehicle veers left to get around them and into the intersection, driving closely by several protesters along the intersection's north side before continuing northbound on Clark.
Another person holding a large camera can be seen jumping out of the way on the north side of the intersection as the vehicle drives past.
The vehicle's driver-side window appears to be open, as well as the rear driver-side door, as it exits the intersection and continues north on Clark away from the protest.
Vancouver Police said in a news release Friday afternoon they have located the driver and are investigating the circumstances of the incident.
Jewish organizers say Israel doesn't 'speak in our name'
Omri Haiven, an organizer with Jews Against Genocide Vancouver, says the rally was organized to oppose "the ethnic cleansing and massacring of Palestinians" and call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
The group is "a coalition of Jews around Vancouver who know that it is now our time to speak up against the genocide that is taking place in Gaza," Haiven told CBC News on Friday.
"We're a group of Jews who refuse to have Israel speak in our name."
The Canadian government has previously said it does not recognize Israeli actions against Palestinians as genocide.
Israel has struck Gaza from the air, imposed a siege and launched a ground assault in the weeks since Oct. 7, when 1,400 people in Israel were killed and more than 240 were taken hostage in attacks by Hamas, a militant group that governs the occupied strip, according to the Israeli government.
The actions have stirred global alarm at humanitarian conditions in the enclave and, according to a Saturday update from officials of the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, have killed more than 9,488 Palestinians.
More than half of those who have died are children, according to the ministry, and 144 Palestinians have also been killed in the occupied West Bank.
Canada is facing increased pressure to join calls for a ceasefire from the United Nations and humanitarian organizations including Doctors without Borders, a proposition Israeli officials have said they will not agree to.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for Hamas to release its hostages and for a "humanitarian pause" to allow water, food and medicine to be delivered to Gaza's more than two million residents, moves also supported by U.S. President Joe Biden.
Haiven says more than 100 people attended Friday's demonstration in Vancouver, one of several other pro-Palestinian gatherings taking place in Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria and Nanaimo this weekend.
On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery to call for a ceasefire and express their support for Palestinians.