Saturday, March 21, 2009

Preliminary Information on Aryan Guard March

The Aryan Guard said that they would be able to bring 100 or more people for their "White Pride" rally. In the end they could only muster 50 to 60, though that was 50 to 60 too many.

Anti-racists expected about 400. From initial news accounts, they managed to get that, though we received information that there may have been more.

We'll provide more information when it comes in, including pictures (we hope). In the meantime, we will publish some mainstream media coverage of the event:

Protest turns violent as Calgary Aryan Guard, anti-racism activists square off 
By Jamie Komarnicki, Calgary Herald 
A white pride march through Calgary’s core quickly deteriorated into a violent melee Saturday as protesters flung rocks, aluminum cans and other projectiles into a crowd of people taking part in the demonstration. 
Several fist fights broke out at the Aryan Guard rally and at least two people were treated for head injuries after being hit by the projectiles, although the injuries weren’t serious. 
Police arrested three people, and charges are pending. 
More than 400 anti-racist protesters confronted about 60 members of Calgary-based white supremacist group, the Aryan Guard. 
The white pride marchers began their route near Mewata Armouries and planned to make their way to city hall. 
The Aryan Guard waved white pride flags and chanted slogans as they zigzagged through the inner city. Their path was blocked at several turns by the raucous anti-racist activists, who first clashed with the marchers at 7th Avenue and 6th Street SW.
A strong police presence formed a human barricade between the two sides. 
Authorities broke up several fights between the two sides along the way. 
At one point, the Aryan Guard marchers brought traffic to a standstill on 6th Avenue as they threaded their way through vehicles. 
“It freaks me out,” said one motorist, recording the protest on his cellphone through his car window. 
The protest ended at about 4:30 p.m. when the Aryan Guard boarded a city bus and were shuttled out of the core. 
Earlier in the day, the group of anti-racist activists held a “celebration of diversity” on the steps of city hall as part of efforts to overshadow the Aryan Guard’s event. 
Several hundred people, many waving anti-racist signs and some of them masked, gathered for a series of speeches and songs promoting multiculturalism. 
Rally organizers lashed out at the Aryan Guard. 
“The message has to get out there, they’ve got to be exposed,” said Jason Devine. 
“This rally isn’t going to get rid of the Aryan Guard, but it is a blow to them. 
“This is a springboard we have to build of off. We have to take the energy of this rally and go further.” 
Kelsey Mills learned of the event after reading an article in her high school newspaper. A similar event last year — which saw throngs of white supremacists and anti-racists clash on downtown Calgary streets — was shocking, she said. 
“I just think that it’s not right. The Aryan Guard shouldn’t be around,” said Mills, 17. 
Harmohinder Plaha, president of Calgary’s South Asian Canadian Association, called for Calgarians to stand up against racism. 
“We don’t like racism. We are totally against it,” he said. 
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald


Anonymous said...

I work in the downtown core of Calgary, and I was caught off guard by this event. However, as disturbing as the neo-nazi's were, the anti-racists weren't without fault as well. Throwing balloon-like projectiles filled with some sort of unknown substance, bottles and other things, hardly made me feel sympathetic.

Surely there are other ways? There were other people there as well who could have been seriously injured, and I know that if a drop of said unknown substance had've touched my skin, I'd of freaked out on a scale of epic proportions.

Anonymous said...

These nazi thugs in Calgary have been linked to assaults on People of Colour, as well as a firebombing of a home with four children inside.

While I recognize not everyone is comfortable with direct confrontation (and I support diversity of tactics), petitions ain't gonna cut it against these guys.