International Day Against Racism and Bigotry March organizers say Vancouver Police failed to provide proper security

 

 

Soldiers of Odin tried to intimidate those at the rally while Vancouver Police failed to provide proper security, say organizers.
Photo submitted

SOLDIERS of Odin disrupted the annual International Day Against Racism and Bigotry March, held on Saturday, March 24 at Thornton Park in Vancouver again this year. And again, like last year, the Vancouver Police Department didn’t stop them. “Nobody was arrested again which upset us,” said Ana David, one of the organizers from the Coalition Against Bigotry – Pacific.

“There were at least 14 members of the Soldiers of Odin and several individual antagonists present but they were stymied by the solidarity and cohesion of the participants from infiltrating, intimidating or attacking the rally,” said Robert Ages from the Peace Bearers who were coordinating the security and safety of the rally.

The Peace Bearers organized a circle of safety around the rally to protect the crowd and the speakers. The strategy worked.  It kept the Soliders of Odin out. But they shouted and try to intimidate the crowd of about 300 people and carried a big Canadian flag like they did last year. But police just watched and did not arrest anyone. The Peace Bearers told the organizer it was too risky to march. So, the march was not held and the rally stayed put at Thornton Park until 3 p.m. with speeches, chants and slogans.

According to Imtiaz Popat, organizer from the Coalition Against Bigotry – Pacific, Vancouver Police allowed the Soldiers of Odin to attack last year’s march. They were finally restrained and handcuffed, but were then released just as the rally was wrapping up allowing them to harass the protestors as they were leaving the march. Again this year, police didn’t arrest them, leaving the rally attendees vulnerable, according to the organizers.

The rally was a coming together in a united effort in Vancouver to fight all forms of racism, bigotry and oppression with the recent growth of white supremacist and ultrarational groups in Metro Vancouver.  The White Supremacist hate propaganda has not only been racist, but also sexist, hetrosexist, transexist, ableist and classist. We have seen public Islamophobic attacks, hate graffiti at schools and universities, Neo Nazi propaganda at Joyce SkyTrain station and homophobic hate propaganda at last year’s AIDS Walk, according to the organizers.

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Soldiers of Odin are awesome. They were peaceful and simply answered people’s questions. The only violence and shouting came from the people hiding in the circle of mostly women . The cowards in the middle of the circle even had their faces covered. Which they apparently told the people attending ahead of time that The Soldiers of Odin would be trouble.
    The SOLDIERS OF ODIN are helping less fortunate people seniors, homeless and single parents in their communities with clothing and food. I’m glad they came to the event and were able to share the truth considering the MAIN STREAM MEDIA CONTINUES TO LIE .

    • According to the National Post (May 2017):

      While the Canadian chapters have emphasized their community volunteerism, organizing events such as food drives, they have also clashed with anti-racism demonstrators, and posted blatantly anti-Muslim rhetoric on social media.

      “It is an important group and it is growing tremendously,” said Yannick Veilleux-Lepage, a Canadian researcher at the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews.

      Working with Emil Archambault of Durham University, Veilleux-Lepage has identified 265 Canadians associated with the Soldiers of Odin. An analysis of their Facebook linkages showed a close connection between the Canadian members and their Finnish and Swedish counterparts, he said.

      “What that tells us is that members of the Canadian group are quite interlinked with at least the membership of the Finnish group,” Veilleux-Lepage said in an interview.

      That means that while the Canadian groups claim to be distinct from their racist Finnish namesake, they interact with them online and share the same anti-immigrant narratives, Veilleux-Lepage said.

      Link:

      http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/soldiers-of-odin-splinter-in-canada-over-racist-agenda-of-far-right-groups-leadership-in-finland

      According to the CBC (Sept. 2016):

      Meanwhile, a teacher at Edmonton’s MacEwan University isn’t swayed by Agnott’s comments.

      “Why name yourself after that group, then, if you don’t want to be associated with that ideology?” asked criminology teacher Irfan Chaundhry. “If you truly are interested in community safety, community patrols, there’s more than enough volunteer organizations that could have been joined.”

      Chaundhry has studied the group in Europe and Canada. He says the Canadian group’s national Facebook page shows clear signs of anti-immigration sentiment.

      “There was a general trend around anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic sentiment that is on the page,” he said. “While the moderator and president is trying to be more inclusive, I don’t think users of this Facebook page really care about that.”

      However, Chaundhry said there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that the group is violent.

      “There could be some aggression from a small percentage of people, but that’s true of people from any group, to be quite honest,” he said. “They are pretty active and vocal in protests (in Europe) and making sure their voice and their narrative is shared.”

      Link:
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/soldiers-of-odin-canada-community-group-watch-1.3761178

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