A "demonstration that turned violent" at a Toronto park left numerous people injured on Saturday, with some feeling "shocked and saddened" about the incident.
Toronto police shared a series of posts on X (Twitter) starting Saturday morning shortly before 10 a.m., noting that a large crowd gathered in Earlscourt Park where one person was carrying a knife.
Officers said there were reports of injuries and some tents on fire at the park. Within an hour, Toronto Police Operations (TPO) updated their post noting that it appeared to be a "demonstration that turned violent."
While medics were on-scene helping patients at the park, at least nine people were transported to the hospital. One person suffered serious injuries after being stabbed, while the other eight people experienced non-life-threatening injuries.
PERSON WITH A KNIFE: UPDATE
Caledonia Rd + St. Clair Av West
- Appears to be a demonstration that turned violent
- Medics are on scene triaging patients with various injuries
- One person transported to hospital with stab wounds
- Roads are blocked for emergency vehicles
— Toronto Police Operations (@TPSOperations) August 5, 2023
Around 2:15 p.m., police shared another update indicating that the "event had turned violent again."
"Officers from across the city are assisting in gaining control," TPO shared. "Please stay out of the area."
Festival Eritrea Toronto is hosting a series of activities at Earlscourt Park between Aug. 5 and 7.
But protesters around the world have been demonstrating against Eritrea's government, which some are calling "one of the most repressive regimes in the world."
Last month, at least 26 police officers were injured during an Eritrean cultural festival in Germany.
Earlier this week, hundreds of people were detained in Sweden after up to a thousand protesters attacked the Eritrea Scandinavia festival in Stockholm.
This past week, a petition was also created — which currently has more than 1,500 signatures — to stop an "Eritrea Festival" event scheduled for Aug. 6 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.
People on social media shared their disappointment about the Earlscourt Park incident.
Alejandra Bravo, the city councillor for the area, shared a statement expressing that she was "shocked and saddened to hear of the violence that broke out."
"Please give [police] space and time to complete their work," Bravo continued in her post. "Earlscourt Park and some local roads are closed to traffic."
Read my statement on the violent incident and closure of Earlscourt Park 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/kUAy5JwG9U
— Alejandra Bravo (@BravoDavenport) August 5, 2023
Some called for the violence to be shut down, while others noted they were surprised the violence wasn't happening at this weekend's Toronto Caribbean Festival.
I thought these demonstrators would have been cleared out already after the first incident at 10AM. There are lots of kids who enjoy that park. Take it elsewhere.
— Shallene Holley (@ShalleneHolley) August 5, 2023
Bro who knew Caribana would be the safe event today
— 🇨🇦 (@HH_Toronto) August 5, 2023
Why was this event allowed to continue after this mornings violent stabbings?!?!?! What is going on?!
— Amanda Baine (@BaineAmanda) August 5, 2023