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Police in Vancouver say five people were stabbed in less than an hour early Sunday as Halloween partiers flooded the city’s entertainment zones.

Sgt. Steve Addison says all five victims went to hospital and the attacks occurred in two separate and unrelated incidents.

Police believe the stabbings were targeted and followed prior fights between the same groups of people.

In one case police say a group of men in their 20s, who had come to the city from White Rock for a birthday party, got in a fight at a bar with another group.

One was treated in hospital and released but two were more seriously injured and remain in care.

Less than an hour later, they say officers patrolling downtown intervened in a large fight between two groups on Granville Street that left two men in their 20s with stab wounds to the face, hands and torso.

Police say the attackers in the first case fled and they have not identified any suspects in the second.

“The weekend before Halloween is always one of the busiest for our officers, and these major incidents stretched our resources thin during a critical time,” Addison said in a statement.

Dozens of officers were also deployed throughout the weekend to a large protest for human rights in Iran on the Lions Gate Bridge, as well as events at the Pacific National Exhibition and Rogers Arena.

Other incidents this weekend included a Surrey man in his 20s who was slashed in the face near Granville Street after he tried to intervene in a fight between strangers, and a stranger threatening a man with a knife in Chinatown, police said.