Hate-crime probe: Vancouver woman arrested over speech that praised Hamas attack

VANCOUVER — Police say a 44-year-old woman has been arrested in a hate-crime investigation over a speech in Vancouver that praised the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel.

A statement from the Vancouver Police Department says the woman "referred to a number of terrorist organizations as heroes."

It says a criminal investigation is underway to determine if her comments violated hate-crime laws.

The speech outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday drew condemnation from Premier David Eby, Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim and others.

The police statement says the investigation was launched on the day of the speech, and the suspect has been released from custody while the inquiry continues.

Video of the rally at the art gallery shows a woman leading the crowd in a chant of "long live Oct. 7" and calling the attackers "heroic and brave."

Eby said Monday that the comments about the attack, that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were "the most hateful" he could imagine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2024.

The Canadian Press