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Pro-Palestine protesters disrupt Surrey council for 4th month in a row

Council meeting moved outside regular chambers, police stationed in parkade as a precaution
Surrey council once again meets in a different room, not in chambers, Monday night Feb. 12 on account of pro-Palestine protesters. (Screen shot)

A B.C. city council moved out of its regular chambers to conduct business and had police stationed in the parking lot this week after pro-Palestine protesters disrupted activities for the fourth time in recent months.

Surrey council convened in a different room than chambers for its Monday night meeting, on account of pro-Palestine protesters occupying council chambers,” Mayor Brenda Locke said. Disruptions also happened Nov. 20, Dec. 18 and Jan. 15.

“In fact, we have had to take various safety measures including increasing security and police presence to safeguard visitors and staff,” Locke said. “The right to peaceful assembly does not extend to blockading lawful activities.”

Locke cited the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Surrey council meetings have been regularly disrupted and the actions of the protesters are disrupting the right of the public to attend and speak on items from the meeting’s agenda, so reluctantly we have had to take this step to move the public outside of the gallery in order to ensure the business of the city continues,” she said.

Police officers were in the parkade at the end of the meeting to ensure council members could safely leave City Hall.

“It was pretty crazy,” Coun. Linda Annis said. “We went out the back way and they were out near the other entrances. They couldn’t get anywhere near us, they were locked outside. The whole City Hall was locked down.”

“They were very noisy, chanting a lot and calling out some of the councillors and the mayor,” she said. “We were perfectly safe. I just wonder when it’s going to stop, right?

“Just very, very unfortunate because them protesting, which of course they have every right to do, but people that wanted to come in and speak I think were fearful to come to City Hall.”

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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