Yesterday, anti-racists spoke about the events that would be occurring today:
Even though a march by members of Calgary white supremacist groups appears to be cancelled, anti-racism activists vow they’ll still show up in force at a City Hall rally Sunday.
Members of the Aryan Guard and White European Bloodlines were expected to march through downtown for the third straight year Sunday, however organizers said through an Internet posting that it is now cancelled.
“If they don’t show up and they don’t march, then we’re not going to march,” said Jason Devine, spokesman for Anti-Racism Action Calgary.
“We’re still going to have the rally because that’s important, we want this to be a tradition in this city, but if they do show up we will be marching because they should not be getting a free ride.”
Held on the International Day for the Elimination of Racism, March 21 is also considered White Pride Day by supremacists.
“The immediate reason for calling the rally was to stop the Aryan Guard and Western European Bloodlines from freely being able to march through the streets,” said Devine, adding he’s hoping the rally will also spark discussion.
“Most times when people discuss racism, it happens at special events,” he said.
“This will be a great opportunity for people who don’t normally talk or meet to hang out and share their experiences, positive and negative.”
Small skirmishes broke out when the two groups clashed last year, injuring two people, and Devine said he’s hoping things will stay peaceful this time around.
“If we have enough people to completely and utterly block them then we will,” he said.
“Will tempers flare? Undoubtedly, but we’re not calling on people to pick up a bat and smash someone’s head in.
“We’re calling on people to stop them and block them and (Calgary Police) will be there so we’ll see, what happens, happens.”
The Mennonite Centre for Newcomers is also handing out 2,000 violet ribbons at church services Sunday as a non-violent way of recognizing International Day for the Elimination of Racism.
“We are deeply concerned about the spread of hate activity in the city and the rise in violence associated with it,” said Doug Klassen, chair of the Calgary Mennonite Inter-ministerial Association.
Sunday’s rally starts at 11 a.m.
The rally occurred earlier today in Calgary. One of our readers sent us some of the pictures she or he took of the event. Our reader noted that he saw one bonehead, a woman with a pink stripe, escorted away by the police.
The media did report that some violence did occur when a man attempted to assault one of the anti-racists at the rally:
One man was arrested following a minor scuffle at an anti-racism rally downtown Sunday.
After taking off his shirt to reveal white supremacist tattoos, the man swung a skateboard at an anti-racism protester who took his picture, hitting him in the head.
The man was not injured.
"I was standing behind a pole and I didn't want him to see who I was so I poked my camera out and took a picture," said Jason Beers, 29.
"He started swearing, slapped the camera out of my hand then the police took him away."
The incident was one of three minor skirmishes between about 100 anti-racism protesters gathered on the steps of City Hall and a handful of white supremacists who showed up as well during the International Day for the Elimination of Racism.
Police also removed a woman with a swastika tattooed on her cheek for her own safety after anti-racism members of the crowd began berating her.
If anyone has any other pictures or eye witness accounts of the day's events, we'd love to hear from you. This includes not only Calgary, but also the racist march that had been proposed for the Vancouver area.