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3 people charged in protest that interrupted Giller Prize ceremony

Toronto police say three people are facing charges after a surprise protest which hijacked a gala for the Scotiabank Giller Prize – one of the biggest nights in Canadian literature.

The glitzy awards ceremony was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville Monday night.

The $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize went to Montreal native Sarah Bernstein for her novel, “Study of Obedience.”

Just as the prize was being announced, a protester posing as a photographer interrupted the ceremony – which was being broadcast live on CBC – with antiwar slogans.

A video of the incident posted to social media shows a woman yelling at the room while several others held up signs accusing Scotiabank of “genocide” for investment in an arm’s company that deals with Israel.

In the video, police intervene to remove the protester and she is heard yelling “free Palestine” while she is led away.

Toronto police said Tuesday that three Toronto residents were arrested in the incident.

A protester films herself as she interrupts the Scotiabank Giller Prize in Toronto, on Monday, November 13, 2023. The ceremony was twice interrupted by anti-Israel protests. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Evan Curle and Maysam Abu Khreibeh – both 25 – and Fatima Hussain, 23, have all been charged with Obstruct, Interrupt, or interfere with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property and Use a forged document.

They are scheduled to make a court appearance in January.

There have been numerous large protests over the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

It’s not the first time that a Canadian awards ceremony has been taken over by protest. Earlier this year in March, a topless environmental protester interrupted the Junos in Edmonton to protest Ontario’s plans for the Greenbelt, drawing the ire of singer Avril Lavigne, who was trying to introduce a performer.

With files from The Canadian Press

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