A chaotic scene unfolded at a suburban mall near Toronto on Sunday night when a Diwali celebration turned into a violent political showdown that saw police caught in the crossfire.
Crowds converged at Westwood Square Mall on Goreway Drive in Mississauga to celebrate the festival of lights observed by the Hindu, Jain, and Sikh faiths — risking fines of up to $100k to set off fireworks in the mall parking lot.
Aerial views of the mall show quite an impressive scene; however, things got a bit intense down at ground level.
@ikshitmadan Diwali Fireworks in westwood plaza😂😂! #malton #westwood #westwoodplaza #brampton #toronto #justforfun😂😂 #drone #celebration #happydiwali ♬ B-Town (feat. Sunny Malton) – Sidhu Moose Wala
While videos depict the mood as largely celebratory, some groups waving opposing Indian and Khalistan flags were recorded engaging in violence.
@setting_24_7 #happydiwali #how #our #community #celebrate #diwali #westwood #mall ♬ سبحان الله – Ali Dawud
A cacophony of fireworks, clouds of smoke, bright flashes, and even confrontations between pyrotechnic-wielding revellers and police were reported.
@radiozindagizindabaaad Tonight #diwali #brampton ♬ original sound – S_U_L_M_A_N
Several videos show scenes of high emotion, a mix of celebratory festivities amid a powder keg of political tension.
@harsh.johal Westwood square #diwali #2023 #brampton #malton #khalistan_zindabad✊🦅 ♬ B-Town (feat. Sunny Malton) – Sidhu Moose Wala
Spent fireworks and other debris littered the mall parking lot, as Peel Police attempted to keep the order.
@mdhillxn98 Diwali celebration westwood mall Canada 🇨🇦#punjabi #sidhumoosewala #brampton🇨🇦 #viral ♬ original sound – M Dhillon
After all the chaos, a smaller group stuck around to tidy up the litter-strewn parking lot in an impressive show of post-party responsibility.
A video showing the clean-up efforts was shared on TikTok on Monday morning but has since been removed. It remains viewable in an Instagram post.
It was a repeat of last year’s Diwali celebration at the mall when an estimated 400-500 people celebrating the holiday converged on the Westwood Square parking lot in what was mistakenly described as a “brawl.”
@blogto 🎆 #toronto #ontario #torontoontario #tiktoktoronto #news #diwali #foryoupage #foryoupage #greenscreen #greenscreenvideo ♬ ■ News News-Drone-IT-AI(963995) – ImoKenpi-Dou
Peel Regional Police told blogTO in a statement that the force “is currently investigating the incident that occurred at Westwood Square Mall.”