iran protest markham

Wild video shows suspects escaping police during chaotic protest in Ontario

Tensions are high among the global Iranian diaspora as anger against the ruling regime boils over in response to the suspicious September death of Mahsa Amini after Iran's morality police arrested the 22-year-old for not wearing the hijab to government standards.

Protests and even clashes between critics and supporters of the Iranian regime have erupted worldwide, including right here in Ontario, with a violent scene unfolding over the weekend in Markham.

A video has been circulating on social media, initially shared by Voice of America Persian News Network, a U.S. government-owned Persian language broadcaster, showing a wild confrontation during a protest at a mosque on Bayview Avenue.

The clip shows a white Kia SUV driving at high speed toward a crowd of protestors before stopping abruptly and engaging in a verbal confrontation with the group. Police and protestors both can be seen rushing the vehicle and opening the doors, at which point the suspect flees, and police follow in pursuit.

York Regional Police has since charged 38-year-old Firas Al Najim of Toronto with dangerous driving after the incident.

According to police, the suspect was located and arrested shortly after fleeing the scene. During a search of the vehicle, officers found restricted items, including an airsoft gun, a baton and bear spray, adding weapons charges to the rap sheet.

York Regional Police acknowledge that in a region known for its multiculturalism, "global events often have a local impact here in York Region."

With this reality in mind, the force has stated that it is "increasing proactive efforts, including connecting with our faith leaders and increasing patrols and police presence in the areas of mosques" amid tensions.

"We will continue to respond to protests and demonstrations as needed to ensure public safety. We encourage anyone who observes hateful or suspicious activity to contact police."

Lead photo by

Voice of America Persian News Network

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