Canadians march against bigotry, intolerance and Islamophobia
Source: HOPE not hate | Wednesday, 8 March 2017
From MT in Quebec
Less than a month after the Islamophobic terror attack that killed fivepeople and wounded twenty at a Quebec City mosque, the far right so-called Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCCC) launched an appeal to organise marches against against Sharia law and globalisation.
Claiming to have set up 60 rallies across the country, anti-Muslims, racists and far right groups rapidly started organising. However, their plans were frustrated all across Canada by the emergence of local coalitions against hate and bigotry. Coming together, anti-hate groups quickly mounted counter-demonstrations in more than 20 Canadian cities.
The marches by the far right coalition generally failed to materialise. When they did, they were sometimes outnumbered 10 to 1. In Winnipeg, 400 people gathered against racism, many from First Nations while the far right had only 20 people and wereheavily protected by police.
In Toronto, 400 people countered around 30 racists, including some loony Soldiers of Odin. In Hamilton, 300 people took to the streets to denounce around 20, so-called Canadian patriots or members of PEGIDA. In Edmonton, a coalition gathered 200 that led the rapid exit of 20-25 supporters of various fringe right-wing organizations. In Calgary, the home turf of Blood&Honour, none of them showed up. Meanwhile, 80 people marched against bigotry where, once again, the 15 members of local right-wing outfits slunk back home under police protection.
It was in Quebec that the largest demonstrations and counter-rallies took place. In Montreal, 150 supporters of various far right groups (Wolfpack, Soldiers of Odin, PEGIDA) were confronted by 350 counter-demonstrators. With their paramilitary gear – body cameras, wireless communication, medics etc. – the Wolfpack supporters provided the main contingent of the far right demo. The group ordered its members NOT to bring racist, hateful signs, since they were coming out for the first time from virtual reality to real reality.
Besides its claim to be non-violent and merely citizens wanting freedom of expression, a local video by Anti-Pegida Quebec clearly showed them shouting at police officers: “ Kill the bastards! Kill the rats!” referring to anti-fascists.
In Quebec City, Wolfpack, Storm Alliance and PEGIDA marched under police protection despite the fact they outnumbered local anti-fascists. The nazis of Atalante showed up at the end of the march to try to create a confrontation with anti-fascists.
It is important to note that most of the hardcore nazis never showed up on what appeared to be a “leave your swastika at home” day for the far right.
Despite these pitiful attempts to legitimise themselves, the far right only showed its real nature and needed police protection to march. After ridiculously claiming 43,000 members in the media, Wolfpack was unable to make its public debut a success.
The day was a limited success for anti-fascists in the battle against intolerance and bigotry. But, the lessons are clear: the far right is organising and the response must be even larger in order to expose, isolate and defeat these organisations.