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Man accused of assaulting police officer at pro-Palestine protest appears in court

Jakub Jerzy Markiewicz is well-known in local radical environmental protest circles.

The 27-year-old Coquitlam man accused of assaulting a Vancouver police officer at a protest against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared in Downtown Community Court on Wednesday. 

Jakub Jerzy Markiewicz is facing charges of assault of a peace officer, assault causing bodily harm and wilfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer. His next court appearance is Dec. 6.

VPD said they arrested a man after an officer was punched in the face and had her eyes gouged while dispersing the protest in Chinatown on Tuesday night. 

Nearly 100 officers were called to Bagheera cocktail bar on Main and Kiefer to deal with an estimated 250 protesters demanding Trudeau support a ceasefire in Israel’s war on the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.

Sgt. Steve Addison said at a Wednesday news conference that 150 of the protesters had stood at the front and 100 in the alley. 

“We believe the protesters took some specific actions that cause concerns, things like moving barricades to block a part of the lane that would have blocked vehicle access in the need of a quick response,” Addison said. “The protesters also took steps such as linking arms to create a line or a barricade.”

Protesters had earlier chased Trudeau out of Vij’s restaurant on Cambie and 15th. 

Addison said that VPD often works with protest groups to share information so that the police can determine staffing. 

“In this case, we did not have advanced warning of this protest. It was a spontaneous protest or a pop-up protest,” Addison said. “And we responded quickly deploying approximately 100 officers from various parts of the city.”

However, the group gave advance notice to its followers last weekend on open source channels that they were planning to target members of Parliament throughout this week.

Last weekend, the same group that had occupied offices of select members of Parliament on Oct. 30 used the @PalSolidaritySitIn Instagram account to promote so-called “bird-dogging” tactics to ambush MPs between Nov. 13-19. It also published a “Free Palestine Direct Action Toolkit” containing instructions. 

“Bird-dogging shows MPs that they can’t hide and holds them directly responsible,” said the Instagram post. “With an election coming, it tells them that their voters care and they must act.”

The sit-in organizers include environmental charity employees who coordinated illegal roadblocks across the country during the early 2020 “Shut Down Canada” campaign against the Coastal GasLink pipeline. 

Earlier Tuesday, during a news conference in Maple Ridge, Trudeau had called for Israel to “exercise maximum restraint” in Gaza. That drew criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who publicly reminded Trudeau of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack in which more than 1,400 people were killed and 240 kidnapped in Israel. Last week, the United Nations, quoting figures from the Hamas-controlled health ministry, claimed 10,000 people had been killed in Gaza. 

On Tuesday morning, VPD Chief Adam Palmer posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that VPD is “happy to professionally facilitate lawful, peaceful protests in Canada. If someone assaults one of our officers they will be arrested, taken to jail, (finger)printed/photo(graphed) and criminally charged.

Markewicz is well-known in local radical environmental protest circles. In August 2016, he was found guilty in B.C. Provincial Court of assault and assault with a weapon for incidents during protests on Burnaby Mountain against the Trans Mountain pipeline construction project. 

During his time on Burnaby Mountain, Markiewicz also chained himself underneath a Kinder Morgan vehicle.

Court files show that Markiewicz was in court on Oct. 17 where a prosecutor stayed a charge of mischief to property over $5,000. There is also a March 2022 entry for a municipal ticket for placing or causing graffiti on a structure in public. That case did not proceed. 

In 2012, he was arrested, but not charged, after photographing security guards arrest a suspect in Burnaby’s Metrotown mall. 

A poster shared on Instagram leading up to the protest. palsolidaritycad