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Protesters take over stage, interrupt Scotiabank Giller Prize gala

TORONTO –

Canada’s biggest night in literature was interrupted when several anti-Israel protesters jumped onstage early in a live telecast of the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Carrying signs that read “Scotiabank Funds Genocide” and shouting, the protesters briefly claimed all eyes from a roomful of CanLit dignitaries gathered to crown the winner of Canada’s most prestigious book award.

CBC cameras carrying the broadcast to home viewers cut away from the stage as host Rick Mercer clapped slowly in an apparent bid to get the show back on track.

There was already a heavy police presence at the ceremony, and officers escorted the protesters from the hotel within minutes.

One of five writers was to receive the $100,000 prize.

The finalists included Sarah Bernstein for “Study for Obedience,” Eleanor Catton for “Birnam Wood” and Kevin Chong for “The Double Life of Benson Yu.” Rounding out the short list were “The Islands: Stories” by Dionne Irving and “All the Colour in the World” by CS Richardson.

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