Canada

‘It’s concerning’: Winnipeg cafe vandalized amid rising conflict in Middle East

WINNIPEG —
As tensions flare between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the impacts are being felt in Winnipeg.

“We all in the Jewish community, or most of us, have family in Israel and we are watching the news and the images from Israel are disturbing to say the least,” said Ruth Ashrafi, the regional director of B’nai Brith Manitoba.

By the Manitoba legislature, a pro-Palestinian Territories protest was met with a pro-Israel protest on Saturday.

The Winnipeg Police Service said it was aware of the demonstrations and sent a large police presence.

“While opposing political views saw tempers flare and angry confrontations, there was no actual violence and no arrests as officers on scene worked to de-escalate and defuse the tensions successfully,” said a police spokesperson in a statement to CTV News.

While the protests remained peaceful, a local restaurant says it was vandalized Friday morning, and believes it might have been because of its pro-Palestinian stance on the conflict.

“It’s really, really strange,” said Rana Abdulla, the owner of Yafa Cafe. “It isn’t the first time and we hope it doesn’t happen again because it’s getting scary.”

Abdulla said vandals moved the security camera, damaged the restaurant’s hydro meter and smashed its flower pots. Vandals also climbed onto the roof and damaged the HVAC unit.

“It’s concerning because you don’t know what that leads to, because some of the messages were unpleasant as well,” Abdulla said.

Another employee at Yafa Cafe said the vandalism happened hours after a Palestinian flag was hung in the window.

The damages at the restaurant forced it to close for five hours on Friday, the busiest day of the week according to Abdulla. All of the repairs have since been finished. 

Abdulla said the community support after the incident has been great.

As for the issue overseas, most parties in Winnipeg say they want a peaceful resolution.

“So, we send a lot of messages for justice, love and peace and for everyone to be equal because without justice there would be no peace,” Abdulla said. 

“Jews and Arabs have a lot more in common than what divides us. And I really hope peace returns to that region and in our community here in Winnipeg soon,” said Ashrafi.


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