Saturday, June 03, 2017

Events of June 3: Anti-Muslim Protests

Well seems to have been an interesting day across the country.

Sign from the protest in Calgary
I'll be posting more on the anti-government/anti-Muslim protests that occurred in various cities in the next few days, but first here are a few comments by those who countered the haters.

Vancouver:

Based on photos posted by Brad Salzberg, it looks as if there were around two dozen people (give or take half a dozen) preaching to the choir. Among those who did attend was Dan Murray of Canadian Immigration Watch:



Edmonton:

A friend sent us the following:
So in Edmonton, it looked like there was a little less than 100 shitheads who showed up. Didn't see anyone on our side (I watched for an hour and a half). Although Bernard the Roughneck was one of the speakers.
When asked about the nature of the protest, the witness wrote:
From what I saw (I didn't stay the entire time), the Western Independence Party of Alberta was there handing out flyers, Jeff Sharpe made an intro speech about how the Liberals and NDP aren't listening and aren't transparent, and Bernard made a speech on how WCAI were morons for discriminating against Muslims, and that the real issue was pipelines, the farm bill, freedom of speech, etc.
Video ARC received of a portion of the protest appears to confirm this assessment:



Calgary:

From the CBC:
Anti-Islam, Anti-fascist groups clash at Calgary city hall 
On one side were supporters of a group called the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam, which is against M-103, a non-binding motion condemning Islamophobia and religious discrimination passed in the House of Commons earlier this year.....Among them, a woman held a sign saying her grandfather fought against Nazis and now she feels she's doing the same. 
"I'm sorry, I'm just a bit emotional about it, just the fact that history's being allowed to repeat itself," said the woman, who asked her name not be published. 
"One of the fellows here … in the other group, he wants a neighbourhood of only Muslims so if anything goes down they can bomb that neighbourhood and kill all the Muslims. That's the same thing as a Jewish ghetto, the exact same thing."
A friend who attended the event wrote the following:
Today in Calgary about 35-40 anti-fascists opposed 70-75 Islamophobic, fascists. In
over ten years of anti-racist/anti-fascist organizing I have never seen a hate rally of this size, scope, and nature up-front and in-person. A friend said it best in comparing it to a Nazi rally in Munich in 1930s Germany. It was truly heartbreaking. 
Today was not a win, but it also was not a loss. It was a stalemate. This was because of different factors. 
One major factor was because of the sheer stupidity of the Islamophobes. They had boxed themselves in at City Hall Plaza so the fact is that those walking by and driving by could not actually see them, let alone hear them. 
Further, when provoked they let their genocidal, racist language spew from their mouths which was duly recorded by our side. Also, I am quite certain they will be shown for what they are in the mainstream press: violent, racist white people. 
It should be noted, that at least 1/3 to 1/2 of their side had driven in from Edmonton and many smaller towns and hamlets. The membership size of organised Islamophobes in this city is not as large but it is big for the province. And still, there are 8 Islamophobic groups active in the city. Calgary is at the forefront of hate. 
I am happy that we stood up to them, that we spoke out, showed up; that we distributed so much literature exposing them. But our anti-fascist movement has to grow, because these fascists are not going away. They are also militarized. They have their Brownshirts and they were ready to draw blood. 
We have to reach out further to more allies and communities. I am thankful to all our people and supporters who showed up to stand up to the growing fascist movement in this city and province. 
Finally, they did not have a permit and broke the law by using a sound system. The city and police knew about it (I was told this by a police officer) and still did nothing. This shows, yet again, you can never put your faith in the state.
Regina:

According to WCAI Saskatchewan "captain" Christopher Hayes, and despite the effort to spin it, his event was not particularly well attended:


Winnipeg:
An estimated two hundred antifascists sent self-described "Canadian Patriots" packing at the Manitoba Legislature on Saturday, June 3, 2017, after antifa scouts determined that the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI) at the last minute had moved a “free speech” rally originally scheduled to be held at city hall to the Broadway location. It did not go well for the WCAI which, despite its bluster, again could only muster nine supporters:
WCAI supporters, Manitoba Legislature, June 3, 2017. (Top left: Justin Cormier, black Jesus t-shirt.)
Three self-styled “Canadian Patriots," one of whom had conveyed threats to Winnipeg antifascists in the days leading up to the rally, aggressively engaged younger members of the antifascist crew and eventually emerged somewhat chastened, egos and bodies battered, from hard lessons learned on the front lawn of the legislative building. 
Photo credit: Jasmine Tea
Minutes later the police arrived, eventually including members of the riot squad, and on a day when a trans parade would begin its march a couple of hours later proceeded to arrest a non binary activist, M., who was abruptly and violently cuffed and thrown into a squad car for continuing to take photos of the police after they ordered her to refrain from doing so. When antifa protesters surrounded the police car the officer rammed into some of the protesters with the front bumper before the police cleared the way. The irony is that M. had been among those who tried to de-escalate tensions during the altercations at the event.  
Photo credit: Jasmine Tea
Eventually M. was released and was able to speak prior to the Trans March, part of the weekend’s Pride activities. FF1-Fascist Free Treaty One, was joined by strong contingents from the Urban Warrior Alliance, American Indian Movement (AIM), Crazy Indian Brotherhood, LGBTQIA2* activists, and many others.  
Photo credit: Jasmine Tea
The Council of Concerned Canadian Citizens (CCCC), WCAI and their supporters have thus far attempted on five occasions since early March to generate public support in Winnipeg. At every turn they have been rebuffed by strong antifascist organizing. When their public events were not outright cancelled, they sent in the Soldiers of Odin who, too, were summarily routed during altercations at city hall in late March. In word and deed, Winnipeg's FF1-Fascist Free Treaty One has demonstrated yet again that racist hate is not welcome here. True to FF1's motto: "Peg City Don't Play!” - Report from FF1.
Photo credit: Jasmine Tea

Toronto

The reports ARC and others have received suggests that the number of anti-fascists dwarfed any Islamophobes who decided to make themselves known. Hopefully we'll get more details.

Ottawa:


According to journalist Kevin Metcalf, the "One Million Canadian March Against Trudeau" was short of a million by roughly 999,500 deplorables. Here is a video that he took of the event where he made the following observation:
Got harassed, threatened had my hands/camera whacked repeatedly with a stick. These guys really don't like free expression...

However, another individual suggests the number was actually much lower and the 500 might be because unrelated groups were also present on Parliament Hill:
Kevin Metcalf's numbers are way off. The Islamophobe event was triple booked with yoga on the hill and a Lyme Disease awareness rally. Their actual numbers were somewhere between 100-150 at best. It's the largest presence they've had but far fewer than 1 million. There might have been more but their bus from Kingston was touched up by comrades before it could leave. 
We had maybe 30 anti-facsists at best. Many were confused that our meeting point wasn't on the hill and the violent event with Kevin Johnston left a few people worried that more violence would follow. A more organized action might have brought in a held greater numbers. 
In the end we decided to hold a main exit at parliament hill as a choke point in case any fash tried to come at us again. They saw the strategic advantage and chose to stay back. Faith Goldy from rebel media wasn't so lucky. She attempted to confront us in the narrow entrance way and was shouted down with megaphones and airhorns. 
Parliament hill is always a poor choice for a rally since police keep you in a fenced off area away from the public. We used that to our advantage and leafleted everyone going near parliament hill. People were very shocked to find out what was happening in their city and thanked us for showing up. 
Once the events were winding down, we chose to head to the Police station in solidarity with out comrades being held. The police in response went into lockdown and promised they wouldn't release anyone until we leave. Some left and others stayed. Everyone was released around midnight.
This last part is related to an incident allegedly involving Kevin Johnston and four anti-fascists who were arrested. From the individual who sent ARC the information above is this report on what
happened:
Kevin Johnston was out trying to troll Antifa, then assaulted a young woman before getting the beat down he'd been asking for all day. 
He claims he was stabbed but that's an outright lie to get attention.
A more detailed explanation followed:
He was out looking for trouble for two days. When he didn't get it, he approached anti-racists far from the Islamophobe march. He get up in the face of some young girls, grabbed their arms when they didn't want to be filmed and got knocked down in the process. He then started saying he was stabbed but that's bullshit. When police confirmed there was no knife, he then changed the story to include a gun. 
He started pointing randomly to people he thought pushed him over and the police ended up arresting four Anti-Racists.
Fredericton:

Nothing specific, but it seems that the event was poorly attended based on a post concerning the Ottawa protest:


Other locations:


Hopefully I'll get more information soon. When I do I may very well update this article rather than write another.

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