Vancouver Police have made an arrest and are conducting a criminal investigation to determine whether comments made during a protest last weekend violated hate-crime laws.

“We defend everyone’s right to gather and express their opinions, even when those opinions are unpopular or controversial,” says Sergeant Steve Addison. “We also have a responsibility to ensure public comments don’t promote or incite hatred, encourage violence, or make people feel unsafe. We will continue to thoroughly investigate every hate incident and will pursue criminal charges whenever there is evidence of a hate crime.”

VPD’s Major Crime Section launched an investigation on April 26, after a video was posted on social media showing a woman on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery speaking through a microphone to several hundred protestors. The speaker praised the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and referred to a number of terrorist organizations as heroes.

Portions of the video have been widely shared on social media, and viewed several hundred thousand times.

VPD investigators identified the speaker, and on Monday arrested a 44-year-old Vancouver woman.  The suspect has now been released from custody pending further investigation.

Once the investigation is complete, the evidence will be presented to Crown for their assessment.