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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Canada protests stop Netanyahu speech
Protesters hurl rocks after breaking a window at Concordia University in Montreal
Police dispersed the crowd with pepper spray
About 200 pro-Palestinian protesters have clashed with police in the Canadian city of Montreal, prompting officials to cancel a planned speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Before Mr Netanyahu arrived, demonstrators packed the hall at Concordia University where he was to speak - tossing chairs at police, who used pepper spray to clear the room.

Binyamin Netanyahu speaks to reporters in Montreal
Netanyahu called the protesters 'zealots'

University officials then announced that the event had been cancelled because of security concerns. Five demonstrators were arrested and a window was smashed.

More protests were scheduled for his appearance on Tuesday in Toronto and Mr Netanyahu said he planned to raise the Montreal demonstration in talks with the Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien.

Mr Netanyahu accused the protesters of being against democracy and in favour of terrorism.

"They're supporting Saddam Hussein, they're supporting [Yasser] Arafat, they're supporting [Osama] Bin Laden," Mr Netanyahu said.

A crowd of mostly pro-Palestinian protesters also shouted slogans outside a theatre in Winnipeg, where Mr Netanyahu, who was Israel's prime minister from 1996 to 1999, gave a speech later on Monday.

At the Montreal protest, some demonstrators accused Mr Netanyahu of being a "war criminal".

Protesters clash with police in Montreal
Some protesters called Mr Netanyahu a 'war criminal'

"There's no free speech for hate speech," said protester David Battistuzzi, 24, a former Concordia University student.

"This man said in 1989 Israel should have taken advantage of the Tiananmen Square massacre to expel the Palestinians from Israel.

"He's a violent man... this man is a war criminal."

The university was embroiled in controversy last autumn over a student publication containing pro-Palestinian views that critics said promoted violence.


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12 Apr 02 | Middle East
29 Nov 00 | Middle East
04 Sep 02 | Middle East
13 May 02 | Middle East
12 May 02 | Middle East
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