Israeli flag raised at Ottawa City Hall in private ceremony

Israel’s flag could be seen flying at Ottawa City Hall Tuesday, following a private ceremony to mark Israel’s Independence Day.

In a statement to CityNews, city officials said it agreed to allow the Jewish Federation of Ottawa to hold a ceremony but did not provide any more details on the private event.

“Following concerns raised by the community, the city has worked with the Ottawa Police Service and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa in an effort to allow the ceremony to move forward,” wrote city officials.

There was a heavy police presence both inside and out of city hall because of the flag raising, Ottawa Police confirmed to CityNews.

“The Ottawa Police Service worked with our partners to address community safety and needs for this event. We are committed to working with our communities and partners to ensure everyone’s right to a safe and peaceful environment for such events, free from hate and intolerance. We will continue to attend events for public safety and security.”

~ Ottawa Police Service

There were also pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside of the building, opposing the city’s decision to fly the Israeli flag.

Last week, the city said it decided to cancel the annual flag-raising event on May 14 because of “concerns it would pose a risk to public safety.”

The decision prompted an outcry from local and federal politicians along with Jewish community groups.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe voiced his displeasure on X, asking that the city, police and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa to coordinate an event that protects everyone’s safety.

The city has been the site of numerous protests against the Hamas-Israel war since the Oct. 7 attack against Israel where Hamas killed 1,200 people, the majority of which were civilians, and took 250 hostage.

The death toll from the war in Gaza has soared to more than 34,500 people, most of them women and children, according to local health officials. Israeli bombardments and ground assaults have caused vast destruction to apartments, hospitals, schools and refugee centers across several cities.

Protest outside of Ottawa City Hall. (Darcy DeToni/ CityNews File)

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