Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued a statement that condemns Friday night’s attack on Syrian refugees gathered outside a welcome party in Vancouver.
The attack occurred just after 10:30 p.m. outside the Muslim Association of Canada Centre on Kingsway near Victoria Drive, where a “Welcome Night” event was being held for newly arrived Syrian refugees. According to Vancouver Police, an unknown man on a bicycle passed by the crowd and pepper sprayed the group, which included women and children.
“I condemn the attack on Syrian refugees in Vancouver,” reads the statement by Trudeau. “This isn’t who we are – and doesn’t reflect the warm welcome Canadians have offered.”
Similar remarks were also made by both Premier Christy Clark and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Clark called the attack “intolerable, regardless of motivation” and asked all Canadians to condemn the attack while Robertson said “Vancouver won’t stand for it” and will always continue to welcome refugees.
A number of people were treated by paramedics and firefighters for exposure to the pepper spray. The investigation is still in the early stages – the suspect on the bicycle is still at large.
Several sections of the Vancouver Police Department are involved in investigating the incident, which has been deemed by police as a hate-motivated crime.
At the end of 2015, the federal government brought in 6,000 refugees into Canada, which falls short of the promised year-end 10,000 target as part of its larger 25,000 target by the end of February 2016.
I condemn the attack on Syrian refugees in Vancouver. This isn’t who we are – and doesn’t reflect the warm welcome Canadians have offered.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 9, 2016
Last night’s attack on refugees is intolerable, regardless of motivation. Please join me in condemning it, and welcoming new Canadians. — Christy Clark (@christyclarkbc) January 9, 2016
Last night’s pepper spray incident was a disgusting display of hate – and Vancouver won’t stand for it. #VanWelcomesRefugees and always will
— Gregor Robertson (@MayorGregor) January 9, 2016