Woman charged after protester’s hijab ripped off

Ottawa police say a 74-year-old woman faces charges of assault, harassment and mischief for allegedly removing someone’s hijab and making lewd gestures during a protest last week.

In a press release, police said this occurred at City Hall around 5:30 p.m. on May 14.

The defendant, who police have not named, has been charged with one count each of assault, mischief and criminal harassment, specifically, engaging in threatening conduct.

The charges are considered hate-related, which could mean harsher penalties if there is a conviction.

Ottawa police declined to say whether the alleged incident that led to the charges is related to a video taken outside an Israeli Independence Day ceremony on the same date and at the same location, fearing it could identify the victim.

Hayfa Abdelkhaleq told CBC she filed a police report and was in contact with the hate and bias unit after her hijab was removed.

She confirmed she is the woman in the video, in which a person gives the camera a middle finger before removing Abdelkhaleq’s hijab.

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