Canadian politicians across the political spectrum are condemning the display of a Nazi swastika symbol on Parliament Hill Saturday, during a pro-Palestinian march and rally in the capital.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and others were reacting to an image posted by Ottawa resident Howard Fremeth, which appears to show a man holding a sign portraying the Nazi symbol next to the flag of Israel, with the text "Zionism = Nazism."
"The display of a swastika by an individual on Parliament Hill is unacceptable. Canadians have the right to assemble peacefully – but we cannot tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind," Trudeau said in a post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
"All Canadians should condemn the displays of hate and antisemitism that we continue to see at demonstrations across the country, including the targeting of Jewish businesses and the open display of a swastika on Parliament Hill," said Poilievre.
Fremeth told CBC News he was "surprised" to see the image, and the hardest part was explaining to his own children why it was there.
"For me that was a challenge. Eighty-five years after Kristallnacht, the experience of the Holocaust ... explaining why this antisemetic imagery exists and why it was in front of the Parliament of Canada."
Fremeth said he was pleased to see the quick condemnation by political leaders but that Jewish and other communities were looking for substantive action.
Numerous other Canadian MPs and politicians, including Conservative deputy leader Melissa Lantsman and Defence Minister Bill Blair, also condemned the presence of the symbol.
Police across the country report that hate crimes, particularly against Jewish and Muslim communities, are on the rise in Canada.
Ottawa police issued a statement Sunday saying they were aware of the image circulating on social media and it was under investigation. They called for members of the public with relevant information to contact police.
The rally in Ottawa was just one of several protests held in cities across Canada Saturday, including Toronto and Montreal. Protesters generally called for Canada to push for a ceasefire to stop the escalating conflict.
"There's nowhere that's safe in Palestine right now," Dalia Awwad, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement in Toronto (which also organized the Ottawa protest), told CBC News Saturday.
"Our politicians need to represent our voice, which is [why] there needs to be an immediate ceasefire."
The protests Saturday are the latest rallies in support of Palestinians, as the war between Israel and Hamas continues. Around 1,400 were killed in Hamas's attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, with over 200 taken hostage, Israel's government says. Israeli airstrikes and ground attacks have killed more than 9,700 Palestinians since the war began, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.