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Shot fired, protesters pepper sprayed outside pro-Israel rally in Chicago suburbs

Police in U.S. cities as well as federal authorities have been on high alert for violence driven by antisemitic or islamophobic sentiments as the war between Israel and Hamas continues

Palestinians in Gaza
People take part in a protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, in Chicago, U.S., October 18, 2023.ERIC COX (REUTERS)

Police arrested two people after one of them allegedly fired a shot and another pepper-sprayed protesters outside a pro-Israel rally in Chicago’s northern suburbs. The rally took place Sunday evening at a Skokie banquet hall, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. About 1,000 people attended to show solidary with Israel, according to organizers.

A group of about 200 pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the hall. A man allegedly drove his car into the group, got out and fired a shot before police took him into custody. A witness told the newspaper that the man’s car had been covered in Israeli flags. A man coming out of the banquet hall wearing an Israeli flag as a cape sprayed the crowed with pepper spray before he was arrested. No one was seriously hurt in the melee.

Police in U.S. cities as well as federal authorities have been on high alert for violence driven by antisemitic or islamophobic sentiments as the war between Israel and Hamas continues.

In Minneapolis, a rally was briefly disrupted Sunday when a man allegedly drove toward protesters who were showing support for Palestinians in Gaza. Police said in a statement that multiple witnesses reported a vehicle drove through the crowd. The Anti-War Committee released a statement saying that a “hostile driver threatened protesters with his car and a box cutter” and video circulating on social media showed protesters kicking and hitting a car before the man inside drove away.

Minneapolis police Sgt. Garrett Parten said Monday that police were still investigating and trying to “figure out what was true and what was not.” Police said that no injuries were reported and there were no arrests.

The Skokie rally Sunday came a little more than a week after a landlord in Plainfield, Illinois, was charged with a hate crime after he allegedly stabbed a 6-year-old Muslim boy and seriously wounded his mother. Police said he singled out the victims because of their faith and as a response to the war.

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