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New fines for nuisance sound attacks inflicted on pro-Palestinian demonstrators

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A pro-Palestinian protester, right, chants as she receives a ticket during a demonstration on December 23, 2023. The city's Municipal Bylaws Department says it handed out nine more fines during another demonstration just before the New Year . (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence , allows you to generate a spoken text from a written text.

Pro-Palestinian protesters express their discontent after the City of Ottawa's Bylaw Department issued nine tickets for noise violations during a protest in downtown Ottawa over the weekend.

The tickets were issued just a week after three tickets, worth $490 each, were handed out on December 23 during another protest in support of the Palestinians.

Sarah Abdul-Karim, a member of the Ottawa chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement, says she is frustrated by these tickets which, according to her, divert the attention of the Palestinian Youth Movement. attention. According to her, this is an attempt to silence the demonstrators.

We want our protests to focus on our fellow citizens, who are suffering and dying, she said Monday in an interview by videoconference. We want them to focus on our government's inaction and not on these violations.

Its organization and Others have regularly gathered in the city center since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

After the first three tickets were issued, Roger Chapman, director of the Municipal Bylaw Department, explained that law enforcement during protests is the result of an escalation of actions by participants, which may pose nuisance and public safety problems.

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The City claims to respect the right to peacefully demonstrate. In an emailed statement following the latest round of tickets, Chapman said bylaw officers – who worked with organizers to inform them of what is and isn't allowed. #x27;is not – have simply followed a progressive enforcement model.

As protest activities intensified and became more frequent, including damage to property, use of sound reproduction devices, smoke bombs, fireworks and threats against our agents [of the Municipal By-law Department], the latter have taken measures to address these concerns.

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Pro-Palestinian protesters dressed as Santa Claus during a demonstration in Ottawa on December 23, 2023.

Warnings were first given about the use of sound amplification devices, Mr. Chapman said, followed by nine tickets.

The City also explained that all the tickets given during the two demonstrations concerned the use of sound reproduction devices on a public highway or public place, and not for the other acts mentioned in Mr. Chapman.

Ms Abdul-Karim says people used smoke bombs at previous protests but were asked to stop after police alerted organizers that they would be verbalized.

She specifies that the group used the same sound system during its various gatherings, adding that it used even more speakers without this being a problem at previous events.

It seems that the Regulations Department is in the process of choosing when to apply this regulation or not .

In a social media post, Somerset City Councilwoman Ariel Troster called fining people for using a megaphone during a demonstration.

I don't have the power to decide whether or not the regulations are enforced, but I can say publicly when I think something is wrong or inappropriate, she said. explained to CBC.

Ottawa Center NDP MP Joel Harden, who was one of the protesters fined after brought megaphone to Dec. 30 protest, said law enforcement was sending the wrong message.

He claims not to have noticed any substantial change in the sound volume during Saturday's demonstration.

But what I saw recently “It's an attack on what I believe is constitutionally protected speech,” he said. We need to have a space in our city to ensure that people who are grieving, who are deeply sad, can impact their government's policies.

According to Mr. Harden, despite the frustration caused by these tickets, an in-depth dialogue was established between the demonstrators and the Municipal By-law Department.

It's not like the situation is so polarized and divisive that people aren't talking to each other.

With information from Joseph Tunney of CBC News

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