The MAC Centre Welcome Night event was advertised on the association’s website as an opportunity to, “welcome Syrian families to the Muslim Community”. Vancouver police said a crowd of refugees was gathered outside the Muslim Association of Canada Centre on Friday night when a man biked past and pepper-sprayed the group, which included children.
Canada’s recently elected Liberal government campaigned on a promise to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015.
“They’ve seen enough at home”, she said.
Trudeau wrote on Twitter that “This isn’t who we are – and doesn’t reflect the warm welcome Canadians have offered”.
Nawal Addo said the refugees were very upset.
Police said that a number of people were treated on scene, but there was no word of any serious injuries.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the first planeload of refugees at the airport in Toronto in early December.
One witness told CBC that some children passed out as a result of the pepper spray.
Police are now looking for a suspect who wore a white hoodie and rode a bicycle during the attack.
Officers say the motive for the pepper-spraying is unknown at this time, and that no arrests have been made so far.
Local police have reportedly launched an investigation into the attack and are searching for the perpetrator.