Media: Neo-Nazi rally in Vancouver area

Posted by admin on Mar 21st, 2010

Counter-racism protesters converge on New West SkyTrain station
By Todd Coyne , Vancouver Sun, March 21, 2010

Activist groups gather, March 21st, at New Westminster’s Braid street skytrain station. The crowd watched for Neo-Nazis that had planned a rally. A tiny white-supremacist rally and large anti-racist counter rally has resulted in one altercation at Braid SkyTrain Station, according to New Westminster Police. A group of about 150 mostly anti-racist counter-protestors converged on Braid SkyTrain Station Sunday to shout down the poorly attended “Advocates for White Civil Rights” rally when police intervened on one particularly heated verbal dispute.

“There was a bit of a verbal confrontation, the parties were separated and one group was escorted away by police,” said New Westminster Police commander Mike Garbutt. “A very small percentage, if any at all, are the white supremacists,” he added.

No charges were laid in the incident.

The poorly attended “Advocates for White Civil Rights” rally, which began at noon at Braid SkyTrain, was scheduled to march along the SkyTrain line and into downtown Vancouver before staging a gathering at the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, according to an online discussion board associated with the group. March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racism.

“It’s a peaceful demonstration and it’s not interfering to the best of my knowledge with the travelling public,” said Garbutt. “We have a few officers on the scene to monitor the situation and they’ve had very little work to do.”

A similar rally was also planned for Sunday in Victoria.

Antiracists will counter any neo-Nazi march in Vancouver

By Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight, March 18, 2010

One type of skinhead is sure to show up at a rally on Sunday (March 21) that coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racism and has been the subject of much Internet chatter.

That’s Maitland Cassia and his friends. But although people with shaved heads are often associated with swastika-waving and immigrant-bashing, such is not the case for this crowd.

They style themselves Sharps—skinheads against racial prejudice. They’re part of the Anti-Racist Action group, which has been organizing to counter a planned neo-Nazi rally that they claim is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at the Braid SkyTrain Station in New Westminster and make its way down to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

“We do know for a damned fact that this group exists, that they have been operating in the Lower Mainland,” Cassia told the Georgia Straight, referring to what he tagged as the Advocates for White Civil Rights.

He explained that skinhead culture is primarily a working-class way of life, and those with a racist bent are usually referred to as “boneheads”.

Although the counter-rally will have a diverse pack, Cassia also noted “We have a sizable group of white skinheads in the Anti-Racist Action group.”

Since the Straight posted a March 8 on-line story about the supposedly planned neo-Nazi rally, there have been claims about Facebook pages and Web sites being used to promote the gathering and then later getting pulled down.

If the alleged white supremacists don’t turn up, that will not stop the ARA and other organizations from staging their own event.

“If they don’t show up, then we’ve successfully reclaimed the space, and we’re marching to celebrate multiculturalism,” Cassia said.

Harsha Walia told the Straight that her group, No One Is Illegal, and others, like the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, will be at the Braid SkyTrain Station on Sunday.

“The responsibility of people who care about antiracism work…whenever you hear these kinds of things, is to respond,” Walia said in a phone interview. “It’s not a false alarm if they go underground.”

Const. Jana McGuinness, spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department, said that the force is watching how the March 21 event unfolds.

“What we’ll do depending on what we learn from different sources is if we need to, we can dedicate resources,” McGuinness told the Straight.

She added that the VPD has no problem with two rival demonstrations winding their way into the city, as long as they’re lawful and peaceful.

Neo-Nazi rally planned for Vancouver area, antiracist activists say

By Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight, March 8 2010

The activist group No One Is Illegal-Vancouver is preparing to confront what it says is a neo-Nazi rally being planned for March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Although white-supremacist demonstrations have occurred on this day in Calgary and other Canadian cities in recent years, No One Is Illegal member Sumayya Kassamali told the Straight today (March 8) that B.C.’s Lower Mainland hasn’t seen such a gathering in a long time.

“It seems like the voices that may have been quieter before are now feeling like…I don’t know whether they’re feeling threatened or they’re just feeling like maybe they have more public support…and they can come out and really publicly say things that we would consider completely atrocious and despicable,” Kassamali said.

She also noted that anti-immigrant sentiment in North America appears to have increased following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In Canada, according to her, such feelings may have been fanned by the terrorism case involving the so-called Toronto 18.

Kassamali said that some people hold the notion that Canada has become “too lax on immigrants” and that immigrants are “becoming violent, and they’re not grateful”.

The white-pride rally, according to No One Is Illegal, will start at 11 a.m. at the Braid SkyTrain station in New Westminster.

Kassamali said that antiracist protesters will also gather at the same location.

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