Neo-Nazis celebrating 'White Pride World Day' disrupt rally
From Monday's Globe and Mail
March 23, 2009 at 4:12 AM EDT
Insults flew, heavy projectiles were hurled, scuffles erupted and transit service was briefly disrupted in downtown Calgary on the weekend as about 50 neo-Nazis clashed with several hundred anti-racism opponents.
But given the mix, the outcome of Saturday afternoon's brawl could have been a lot worse, Inspector Rob Williams of Calgary police said yesterday.
Two people in the crowd sustained minor head injuries, and three others were arrested for breaching the peace.
But although the projectiles included placards and cans of vegetables, there was almost no property damage - not even a broken window.
"We can be thankful; we did well," said Insp. Williams, who chiefly blamed members of the anti-racism group, comprising in total around 450 people, for the trouble.
"It was quite a volatile crowd at one point, and we had officers right in the middle of it all." It was unclear who provoked whom first.
Calgary's Anti-Racist Action group had gathered outside city hall to honour International Day to Eliminate Racial Discrimination.
But as they began marching through the downtown, a bus carrying members of the Alberta-based neo-Nazi Aryan Guard rolled up, bent on celebrating "White Pride World Day," marking European culture and heritage.
Local reports say the group has been trying recently to recruit followers among Calgary high school students.
Wearing sunglasses and scarves over their faces to mask their identities, the neo-Nazis waved white-power flags and signs bearing swastikas, and screamed insults.
Similarly concealed with balaclavas and bandannas, their foes responded by pitching water bottles and whatever else was at hand.
Police formed a human barrier to separate the two groups."The white pride marchers - Nazis, whatever - wanted to speak their minds but the anti-racist protesters were actually more violent, which didn't help," Insp. Williams said.
"The balaclavas, or scarves over their faces, or bandannas, I think that gave them a false sense of security, that nobody knows who they are, so they got a little braver.
"And this was definitely premeditated because they were lobbing whole cans of vegetables, and who carries that downtown?"
By late afternoon the crowds had dispersed.
"We didn't locate the people who were tossing the projectiles; they were hiding in the crowd, and any of the people fighting with each other went off on their own," Insp. Williams said.
A spokesman for the ARA told local media that white supremacism needs to be exposed and that ignoring it dispatches the wrong message.A couple of teenaged Aryan Guard supporters responded by saying they are not racists at all, merely Canadians who are proud of being white.SourceI'm not sure where to begin. :S Idk, my prof put this up so we could discuss if multiculturalism is working in Canada...the discussion went on to say how Canada -- even though we to a certain degree have 'tolerated' and 'accepted' all these cultures -- continues to ghettoize a lot of these ethnic communities. It's interesting to see my purely Torontonian view (where it's easy to see and say that multiculturalism is to a large degree successful) being challenged by these (hopefully) isolated incidents.