Residents should expect an increased police presence this weekend, especially in the downtown core where several "large-scale" demonstrations are set to be held, Toronto police say.

At a news conference on Friday afternoon, Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue of the Community Safety Command said they are aware of pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrations occurring on Saturday and Sunday.

"While the Toronto Police Service will be present to ensure lawful demonstrations, we want to be very clear: we will not tolerate any intimidation, any harassment, or any hate-motivated behaviour aimed at specific communities in our city," Pogue said.

"We have heard the public's concern about hate speech and about messages at demonstrations and in our neighbourhoods as well. Anyone whose behaviour crosses the line from lawful demonstration to criminality can expect it to be arrested."

Pogue noted that in addition to frontline officers, there will also be members of the Hate Crime Unit on the ground to gather evidence and investigate any suspected hate speech or signage at the demonstrations.

When asked if all the demonstrations this weekend have obtained permits, Pogue said only some have, but she cannot provide the specific number. Despite that, the deputy chief said police are in contact with all organizers to understand what is expected and lay the groundwork of what will be tolerated.

"We have resources who will be present, not just to keep public safety but also to manage the flow of traffic to try to minimize disruption to our businesses downtown as well and to the residents who are just going about the day," she said. "We have a tremendous, tremendous amount of resources, and we can scale up and scale down."

One of the planned events this weekend is a car rally that will come from Durham Region. Pogue said police are aware of reports circulating online about people in cars driving through certain neighbourhoods.

"We will not tolerate any criminality, any intimidating of any community in our city. The organizers of this event have told us that they will be heading directly to the City of Toronto, downtown Toronto, for the protest. But we do have resources in place. And again, if any behaviour crosses the line, you can expect to be arrested," she said.

Pogue added that police are not aware of any threat to the city.

This weekend's demonstrations are just the latest that have taken place since the deadly war between Hamas and Israel broke out on Oct. 7. A pro-Palestinian rally last weekend in downtown Toronto drew the ire of politicians after video surfaced of demonstrators "targeting" a Jewish café.

"Targeting a business in this way is wrong. There is no place in our city for antisemitism, Islamophobia, hate, intimidation and harassment of any kind," Mayor Olivia Chow said in a statement.

"I urge everyone in our city, through all the pain and anger so many are feeling right now, not to lose sight of our common humanity."

Pogue said on Friday that Toronto police have not laid any hate-motivated charges at any of the demonstrations.

When asked to specify what constitutes hate speech, the deputy chief said that involves a "complex" process, which includes consultation with the Ministry of the Attorney General. Still, Pogue encouraged residents who suspect that a hate crime has been committed to immediately report it to the police.

Earlier this month, Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw reported that hate crime incidents in the city have spiked since the war began. On Friday, Pogue said there have been 15 antisemitic and five anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim incidents reported to police since Oct. 7.

"We know that hate crime is underreported," she said. "Our officers are immediately gathering that evidence, commencing an investigation, working with our specialized hate crime investigators and consulting with the ministry to lay charges at the earliest opportunity."