Counter-protest to far-right march in Vancouver backed by Mayor Gregor Robertson

Aug 17 2017, 1:18 am

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is supporting an anti-racism rally at City Hall on Saturday, to counter a march planned there by a far-right, anti-Islamic group.

The rally is being organized by an ad hoc group, Stand Up to Racism Metro Vancouver, to counter a march by the group Worldwide Coalition Against Islam.

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While some have suggested it would be better to simply ignore the far-right group, Robertson rejected this idea in a series of tweets on Wednesday.

“Acts of hate/violence must always be met with non-violent resistance,” he wrote. “We need to call out white supremacy/hate speech wherever it happens.”

He went on to say complacency was not an option and vigilance was imperative.

The Facebook event relating to the original far-right march was removed, but has since been reposted, entitled “WCAI/CAP August 19th Vancouver rally.”

“WCAI founder Joey De will be making the trip out to speak,” reads the new event post. “Brad Salzberg from CAP will be there as well as Soldiers of Odin. It should be a great rally you don’t want to miss.”

CAP, the Cultural Action Party, and the Soldiers of Odin are both far-right groups which oppose immigration and Islam and claim to want to “take our country back.”

So far, 18 people have signed up to attend the march on the new Facebook event post. Some 31 people have expressed interest there too.

Meanwhile, 1,400 people have signed up on Facebook to attend the counter-protest rally, with 3,000 also expressing interest.

Isabelle Rowe-Codner, one of the organizers of the rally told Daily Hive speaking out against bigotry is important.

“We cannot let the hateful vitriol of white supremacy gain any traction in our city,” said Rowe-Codner. “If they go unopposed, what message would that be sending to our Muslim, immigrant, and otherwise affected neighbours?”

The protest and rally come just days after equality activist Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville, Virgina, while protesting a white supremacist march.

Heyer tragically died and 19 people were injured when a driver, allegedly a Nazi sympathizer, rammed their car into the crowd of protesters.

James Fields is charged with second-degree murder and the incident – and lack of condemnation from President Trump – has shocked the world.

In a news conference on Wednesday, the Vancouver Police said they are trying to balance citizens’ rights to free speech with the right for public safety.

“We are monitoring the situation,” said Sgt. Jason Robillard, adding that they had a plan, but did not want to reveal operation preparations.

“What I can tell you is that we are prepared to improvise and adapt to any type of situation we have – that’s what we’re trained to do.”

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect that the march Facebook event post resurfaced after being removed.

Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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