A group of Syrian refugees was pepper sprayed by an unknown assailant while they were attending a welcoming event in Vancouver, Canada, local media reported on Saturday. A man on a bicycle wearing a white hoodie rode past the Muslim Association of Canada Center as the event was ending and attacked the refugees as they waited for a bus. Emergency services treated up to 30 men, women and children for exposure to the pepper spray. The refugees had been attending a "Welcome Night" which was attended by some local politicians, CBC reported. Canada's recently elected Liberal government campaigned on a promise to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. But it pushed the target date back after the deadly November attacks in Paris, saying it would bring in 10,000 by year-end and the remaining 15,000 by the end of February. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the first planeload of refugees at the airport in Toronto in early December.
17-year-old Nawal Addo, who with the refugees when they were attacked, said they deserve better. "They've seen enough at home. It's like us, as Canadians, we should not be welcoming them in this type of way. But all I know is they're very upset. And I think that people need to understand that this is not what they deserve and they should be treated way better than this," said Addo, who was raised in Canada. One witness told CBC that some children passed out as a result of the pepper spray. The police are reportedly still searching for the perpetrator. As many as 3, 000 Syrian refugees are expected to be settled in British Columbia, local media reported.