4 March 2017

M103 Protests and Counter-Protests

We're in the process of collecting information about the Islamophobic protests that took place across the country today, paying particular attention to the counter-protests that opposed them. Thus far it would appear that in most cities, those who came out to support Muslim-Canadians and oppose the Islamophobes were in significant majorities in most cities; in Winnipeg, we've been told that counter-protesters outnumbers the anti-Muslim side by a factor of 10 to 1.

We plan as much as we can to include as many first hand accounts of those who participated in the counter-protests as we can.

Halifax:

Looks like no one showed up to the Halifax M103 protest
A national organization opposing Motion 103 and calling for a “Canadian government for Canadians” held rallies across the country today, including in Halifax. 
Police separated M103 protesters and counter-protesters at larger rallies in Toronto and Calgary, but if the event's Facebook page is to be believed, not many people showed up locally. 
Only four people on the Facebook page were confirmed to attend the event, which was held outside City Hall at noon. One commented that she “didn't see anyone” there at 11:45am. Another said he arrived at 1pm but “it was all over and done.” 
An opposing protest, in comparison, had 180 confirmed on its Facebook. Organizers called out the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens' “marches for freedom” as “thinly-veiled anti-Muslim rallies.”
Fredericton:

Information we received suggested than no more than three anti-Muslim protesters were present for the event; they left soon after arriving:


Quebec City:

The following has not yet been properly translated, but it does provide an understanding as to what occurred in Quebec City:
La contre-manif des antiracistes, communistes ou antifascistes, à Québec, a pris le lead de la marche du 4 mars, au son de slogans trolls comme "si la Meute nous suit c'est parce qu'elle nous appuie", ''La meute à la SPCA'', ou "On marche devant, la Meute en laisse". Atalante sont venus faire les matamores avec une bannière pas trop claire : ''immigration réserve du capital'', montrant bien leur intention de se positionner comme des socialos de l'extrême-droite. Aie, les fachos ont toujours fait ça: nazisme, national-socialisme, ça avait quand même la moitié du nom ''de gauche''. Ils ont quand même passé toute leur courte intervention à reculer jusqu'à ce qu'ils rangent leur bannière et s'éclipsent, non sans vociférer contre les journalistes... mais après avoir pris la pose pour être bien photographiés et filmés. Quand aux autres, bien rangés sous les drapeaux de la Meute, notamment Dave Treggett et les quelques Storm Alliance qu'il a rassemblés depuis qu'il s'est fait montré la porte des Soldiers of Odin, on s'en fout un peu.
Saint Jean sur Richelieu:

Not to be unkind, but this sort of looks like the cast of "Cocoon" though less glamorous.


Montreal:

We read this comment from one participant concerning the protest:
There were a few hundred "fachos" at the Montreal demo, and they were definitely outnumbered by the counter-demo. Police kept a big gap between them.
Included were the following photos. We start first with the anti-Muslim crown which included members of the Soldiers of Odin, Atalante, La Meute, and others....



.... followed by the counter-protesters:



Far right groups, opponents clash at Montreal protest against federal Islamophobia motion
Far right groups in Quebec joined forces Saturday under the banner of their opposition to a proposed parliamentary motion condemning Islamophobia, taking part in a series of demonstrations across the province. 
The largest crowds were in Montreal where some 150 protestors were confronted by a counter-protest around twice that size organized by a so-called anti-fascist alliance.....But for the most part the two sides were content to hurl insults at each other. From the anti-fascists — a coalition which includes many far left groups — came chants of "Immigrants in, racists out." 
From the far right came cries of "liberty." A mimicked wolf howl could also be heard from members of La Meute (Wolf Pack in French), who accounted for the largest contingent among the far right groups.
Sault Ste.Marie

Well, if the photos are any indication, there wasn't much of an anti-Muslim rally at all:



M-103 protests: Scuffles elsewhere. Peaceful in Sault Ste. Marie
With uniformed and plainclothes police watching nearby, nine people turned up Saturday at a Sault Ste. Marie 'Freedom March' organized by the Montreal-based Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens.
....
"We're just trying to get the word out there," says Marc Hallaert, who organized the Saturday afternoon event in Sault Ste. Marie. "We believe that we have the right to free speech and we want to ensure that it isn't taken away from us."
 
"They're trying to pass this [motion] that could possibly silence us against speaking out about any concerns coming into Canada. There's immigration issues on the table right now. There's just so many different issues that the Liberals are making us stand up against," Hallaert said.
....
Hallaert attended today's event with two other members of a group he identified as Storm Alliance
....
Another group with similar interests and activities, the local chapter of Soldiers of Odin, had expressed interest in the Sault march but did not attend.
"It's different from Soldiers of Odin, absolutely," Hallaert told SooToday.
....
Also attending the Sault demonstration was Dave Selvers, a local businessman who, earlier in the week, had promoted the event on social media, adding: "If this doesn't work the next march will be for the immediate deportation of Muslims. This bulls**t has gone too far."
Ottawa:

Duelling rallies and a maple festival make for an interesting, icy day at city hall
12:20: A group of 40 people with banners and placards marches in front of city hall chanting, “Say it loud and say it clear, fascists aren’t welcome here!” and “Nazi scum off our streets!” 
12:25: No sign of the people the anti-fascists are protesting against. A man with a megaphone explains that the Concerned Citizens — there were between “two and eight” of them, apparently — have fled. “They walked away down Elgin Street.” Did he talk to them? “No, there is no room to debate Islamophobia! Our job is to shut them down, not debate them.” With the rise of U.S. President Donald Trump, people with intolerant and hateful ideas are emboldened, says the man. He won’t give his name, saying he fears being harassed by fascists.
Anti-Muslim protesters expressed disappointment with their numbers on a Facebook post from earlier in the day:



That view was echoed by another anti-Muslim supporter:


Markham:

Though there was a protest planned and announced, no one apparently showed up

Vaughan:
Ditto for Vaughan.

Toronto:

An article published by the amazing and far brave than I Sarah Hagi with photographs from Mack Lamoureux:

The Dumbest Things I Heard at an Anti-Anti-Islamophobia Rally

Really a fascinating read if one wants to understand the mindset and true motivations of the anti-Muslim protester and why I refer to them as anti-Muslim and NOT anti-M103

Below is information and photos courtesy of Graeme B.
Hundreds of people came out to confront a racist group that had called a rally at City Hall. The much smaller gathering of racists quickly found themselves facing an angry community groundswell that sent a clear message: fascists not welcome here! 
Predictably the cops put their energy into defending the Islamophobes, pushing forcefully between the two groups and making several arrests. The charges are unknown at this time. The man being led away in the final picture was actually released moments after I took the shot. 
As well as the motley crew of haters several members of the Soldiers Of Odin were spotted wearing their colours. These guys are hardcore and show the extent of the physical threat posed by these 'free speech advocates' (an earlier gathering last month was attended by four of the candidates for the Conservative Party leadership, which demonstrated how mainstream this poison has become). 
Hats off to those who took a stand today, in Toronto and other cities. we need to be out there in numbers whenever these scum show their faces in public!
Some of the photos that were taken of the counter-protest. In order to prevent harassment of anyone participating in the counter-protest we will avoid using shots that could clearly identify individuals:



And here are some photos of the anti-Muslim protesters. Among the photos are shots featuring the Soldiers of Odin, a woman who attended the mosque protest two weekends ago, Ron Banerjee, and David Menzies of "The Rebel" who was at the scene likely to provoke the counter-protesters. We also know that Sandra Soloman and Eric Brazeau were present:

A friend overheard a police officer noting that the Brazeau was in violation of his parole; nothing was done about that:





David Menzies
Hamilton:

Hope & Hate: Rival rallies descend on Hamilton city hall
Hate and fear are dangerous weapons. 
That's the message as about 300 people converged on city hall on Saturday in rival demonstrations that saw tears and yelling matches halted by Hamilton Police. 
"Islamophobia is a powerful weapon," said Lina Assi, a McMaster Student and a member of the Solidarity for Palestinian Women's Rights. 
"It's no less damaging than a missile fired from a F16 plane. I hope the Hamilton community recognizes Islamophobia is a phenomenon that's here and alive." 
No sooner had she said it, there came a commotion from the back of the rally causing officers and the four Mounted police horses on scene to move toward them. 
"Ninety per cent of Muslims don't work. You don't work," yelled a frail-looking senior who identified himself as an immigrant to Hamilton from Holland. 
He was alone in a crowd of protesters who stood in disbelief, yelling at him to go home."That hit home. It hurt," said Saad Zafar in tears. "I work and I work hard. I am a proud Muslim."
Still, it doesn't look like the Hamilton anti-Muslim protesters found much traction:


Windsor:

Windsor police stop things from turning violent at opposing protests over Islamophobia motion
“I don’t want terrorism in this country and that’s what it is leading to,” said Brock Carriere, a former military member. “It’s giving them more rights than us. They’re taking our rights away from us. We’re not allowed to say Merry Christmas now, it has to be Happy Holidays. Like, come on. We have our rights. But they want to change our rights, that’s what the whole thing is. But No. 1 is terrorism, I don’t want it.”
Just as an aside, who has ever heard someone tell another person they were not allowed to wish someone Merry Christmas?
Dozens of people spent a couple hours outside city hall taking video, shouting or calling each other names. Both sides also sang the national anthem to make their point and waved signs with slogans including “fit into Canada or don’t come” and “your bigotry is showing,” depending on what side of the debate they were on.
....
Half of the protesters came as members of March for Freedom, Liberty and Justice to oppose M-103, which was launched last year and debated in parliament on Feb. 15. The other group initiated a counter protest to support the motion and fight what they believe is bigotry.
London:

A brief report on the anti-racist counter-demonstration in London, Ontario, today as posted by Steve D.:
There were about 15-20 pro-racists, and about 50 anti-racists. Within the pro-racism group, there was some political incoherence: some seemed particularly concerned about military veterans, and they linked that in some obscure way to immigration; some were fixated on 'free speech,' which seemed to be a cryptic code for the right to promote racism. The only visible, organized political group was Pegida (the anti-Muslim, white nationalist group founded in Germany, which now operates in many countries including Canada). Pegida had colour-printed signs, and colour-printed leaflets, and so stood out from everyone else in their group as by far the most well-prepared and visible. I think there were about 3 or 4 people linked to Pegida. 
The actual demo started well; the anti-racists took over the front of city hall, forcing the racists to relocate to the corner. We then followed them, and they returned. After that, everyone milled around, with some jockeying for position at times, in front of city hall. 
From my point of view, I was hoping that the racists would leave demoralized. Did that happen? In the end, I hope so. But there was a long period in the demo where they seemed to be thriving on the attention and the willingness of people to argue with them. They made little phone videos of themselves arguing with anti-racists, mostly about Fox-news style hype about "sharia law" being imposed on Canada. At one point, a racist pushed me in the face, and things almost got intense, but in the end it was confined to swearing at each other, with me being called a fascist by one of the proto-fascists, ironically. A TV news crew came, interviewed people on both sides, and there were some attempts to demoralize the racists by trying to block them from being seen and filmed by the journalists. After that, they sort of walked away, but still congregated down the street a bit. At that point, I left, so I don't know if anything else happened. 
It's really good that the counter-protest happened, and that it was substantially bigger than their demo. On the other hand, I think we should really try in a focussed way, collectively, to work from beginning to end at demoralizing them and ensuring that they go home feeling weaker than when they arrived, rather than the other way around. Arguing with them about policy doesn't help, in my personal opinion. It's what they hope to achieve: to get a hearing for their anti-immigrant ideas and some mainstream legitimacy for their organizations, like Pegida. They want more uncontested access to mainstream political debate, and we should work to make them feel like it's pointless to try, like they will be loudly denounced at every turn. 
That's my take. I'd like to hear what others took away from the experience, or how they might describe it differently.
Two protest groups squared off over a Parliamentary motion on Islamophobia
A group of people gathered in front of City Hall around noon to protest a motion known as M-103 by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid which calls on the federal government to denounce Islamophobia. Some of the demonstrators carried placards support PEGIDA Canada, a right-wing anti-immigrant group founded in Europe. 
Another group which support M-103, got advance news about the demonstration and showed up to counter protest.
Kingston:

Looks like the anti-Muslim protest was an utter failure here:



Winnipeg:

We' received this report from our friend Helmut Harry-Loewen:
The FF1 - Fascist Free Treaty One rally at Winnipeg city hall drew approx. 500 supporters, the CCC only 12-15, assembled in two separate groups. Well-known neo-Nazi ["Nazi Mom"] had initially organized the CCCC rally, but was removed for, as one antifa put it, "being too racist even for the racists."  
FF1 first gathered at Old Market Square, site of the 1934 Battle at Old Market Square which saw the Anti-Fascist League engage in a confrontation with the Nationalist Party of Canada, an event which defeated fascist forces in Winnipeg in the 1930s. FF1 then marched to city hall which had a heavy police presence outside and inside city hall, including two police snipers on the roof of the administration building.  
The event was peaceful and celebrated, as FF1 put it, "a new spirit of antifascist resistance in Winnipeg." The rally began with Indigenous drummers and included speakers who discussed Winnipeg's antifascist history in the 1930s, 1990s and now in 2017 (H-H. Loewen), refugee and immigrant advocates (from Welcome Place), and Muslim leader Shahina Siddiqui.  
Speakers denounced Kellie Leitch and others who have framed their Islamophobia as a question of free speech. Loewen called on Mayor Bowman and city council to "stop pussfooting" and join other big city mayors in declaring Winnipeg a sanctuary city and urged the Trudeau government to reinstate sec. 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act to address cyber-hate.  
A highlight was the solo performance by Wanda Wilson, a singer/guitarist originally from Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Attempts by the small group of CCCC supporters to disrupt the rally were met with antifascist chants and some were engaged in debate with FF1 supporters.  
The Winnipeg rally was among the largest in the country and bodes well for antifascist organizing in Winnipeg. FF1 was organized recently and has garnered a great deal of interest in the city. As Omar Kinnarath, an organizer with FF1 put it, "a line has been drawn here. Peg City will not yield space to the alt-right, white supremacists and Islamophobes."
Also included are photos of the counter-protest....




.... as well as some of the anti-Muslim protesters:


Chrystal Barnes





Opposing rallies meet outside City Hall Saturday
WINNIPEG — Two groups standing on opposite sides of a motion to condemn Islamophobia gathered in the same spot in Winnipeg Saturday to voice their concerns. 
Originally the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens announced a rally at City Hall to oppose M-103, a Private Members’ Motion to condemn Islamophobia, and conduct a study to eliminate systemic racism. After hearing about the rally, an anti-fascist group called FF1-Fascist Free Treaty1, decided to hold a counter rally in the same spot Saturday. 
“Any alt-right group that has any hate towards Muslims, any hate towards immigrants, have an anti-refugee message. This is what they have to deal with,” founder of FF1, Omar Kinnarath said. 
The front steps of City Hall were filled with hundreds of people saying prayers, and making speeches. The FF1 group continued to chant ‘Peg City Don’t Play’.
A CBC article on the same protest/counter-protest had to make the following correction:
An earlier version of this story said there were only "slightly" more people at City Hall before noon who were part of the counter-protest. In fact, by noon, hundreds of people had shown up to support Muslims in Canada, compared to a handful who were part of the protest against M-103.
Regina:

Posted to Facebook:
Regina was pretty good they had 15 max to over 80 counter protestors
The article appears to confirm the brief report:

Supporters and critics of motion condemning Islamophobia protest in Regina
Dozens of people gathered at Regina City Hall on Saturday to protest and counter-protest the federal anti-Islamophobia motion M-103. 
The rally was one of many held nationwide in response to M-103, a private members’ motion launched last year by Mississauga MP Iqra Khalid and debated in Parliament on Feb. 15. 
The motion asks the government to “recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear” and “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” 
As a private member’s motion, M-103 carries no force of law, creates no new restrictions, and does not affect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in any way.
....
About a dozen people showed up for the Regina protest. Around 50 came for a counter-protest organized by the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism, Colonialism No More and Voices for Justice and Police Accountability.
Saskatoon:

From a participant:
About 60 antifa and 15 Islamophobes in Saskatoon. There were some known members of Heaven's Hellion, a white supremacist biker gang based in North Battleford that broke off from Soldiers of Odin. There was some dialoguing with more moderate and confused elements. Lots of folks from the Muslim community despite an email from Islamic Association this morning asking people not to participate because of potential violence etc.
Based on photos included in the story, it looks like counter-protesters significantly outnumbered anti-Muslim protesters here as well:

Anti-Islamophobia motion spurs protests — and counter-protests — at Sask. city halls Saturday
The CCCC group in Saskatoon, a gathering of about 15 people, spoke of their own immigrant heritage and wanting to protect Canadian values. 
Mike Landrie from North Battleford, Sask. said his opposition to M-103 was about fairness and freedom to express his beliefs. 
"When you think you're entitled to something that I'm not entitled to, doesn't that set the system up for a two-tiered system?" asked Landrie. 
"That's all it boils down to is being fair, equal and everything." 
Protesters at the counter-rally across the street carried signs with slogans including "smash fascism" and "refugees welcome."
Red Deer:

Looks like this protest was essentially a bust.

Low turnout for rally in Red Deer against motion condemning Islamophobia
Only four protesters turned out to City Hall Park to voice their concerns over suppression of freedom of speech. 
“It is limiting our speech for speaking our minds and standing up for Canadian rights,” said one of them. “Our Creator has given us our free agency. Our government is taking it away.” 
A small group of three people also showed up at City Hall Park in support of the motion.
Calgary:

Initially we didn't see much substantial information in the media, though there is brief mention of the protest at the end of this article:
In Calgary, a group of about 15 people reportedly gathered outside city hall to protest the parliamentary motion but were outnumbered by dozens of counter-protesters.
Aaron Doncaster, another counter-protest organizer suggested that their numbers peaked at 80 individuals

Later the "Calgary Sun" posted this article which contained the following:
Crowds of protesters, both for and against a federal motion condemning Islamophobia, gathered in downtown Calgary Saturday as hundreds of others clashed in cities across Canada. 
Calgary police stood on guard as dozens of those rallying for and against the controversial motion, and on both sides of the issue protesters hoisted signs and exchanged chants. 
More heavily attended protests in Toronto and Montreal grew so heated that police had to tackle several protesters and escort them away from the rally. In Edmonton, more than 200 protesters gathered in Winston Churchill square in a rally that saw one man arrested.
From Jason Devine, we received the following report on the event:
Members Calgary Anti-fascist Action got to City Hall early Saturday morning, at 10:45 and members continued arriving as time went on. 
Two to three people who, we found out later were there for the CCCC rally, came around 11:20 and they were confused to see us there. But they refused to openly state who they were or that they were pro-CCCC. 
Between 11:30-11:45 the main organizer of the CCCC Calgary event, Stephen Garvey, showed up, The look on his face was priceless: he was openly dismayed to see that 20-25 people who were clearly not here for his event and were openly anti-fascist had taken his preferred spot ahead of time. 
We then decided to start speeches and handing out leaflets when Greg Ligertwood, a vociferous Islamophobe, starting walking among us: he was handing out a copy of M-103, yelling, acting belligerent and clearly trying to provoke people into a fight. If you told him you did not want a copy he would yell at you saying "I guess you do not want to know what the hell you are talking about!" 
He and other CCCC members started arguments and disrupting our speeches (insulting us, yelling, etc.), but eventually they drifted over to the CCCC side. 
We had more speakers and a larger crowd: about 35-40 on our side at our height and 25 on theirs. Although it was reported in the media that they only had 15 people, so I could just be counting people passing by, people from our side observing them, and media. 
Around 1:00 or so the CCCC numbers had shrunk and they decided to march around around Olympic Plaza. We watched and mocked them for the racist Islamophobes they are. 
Eventually they drifted away and we left. 
I should also note that a Rebel media "reporter" showed up and at least two members of the Guardians of Alberta who I hear is a split of Soldiers of Odin.
And from another friend, some photos of the anti-Muslim protesters, including "Bernard the Roughneck" who seems to be branching out to take advantage of other media opportunities:




"Old Stock Canadian" hats





Bernard Hancock. We wonder if he was disappointed there wasn't something he could throw his shoe at this time?

The Guardians of Alberta don't look like they have the numbers here to guard an empty parking lot.
Edmonton:

Rival protesters converge on Winston Churchill Square over anti-Islamophobia motion
About two dozen men and women converged on Winston Churchill Square waving placards and Canadian flags around lunch time to protest non-binding motion M103 that calls for the Canadian government to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.”
....
A counter protest group about three times as large was also on hand to “drown out the noise of hatred” by banging pots and pans, singing, dancing and waving their own placards.
 
That group was organized by Black Lives Matter Edmonton & Area Chapter.
Lethbridge:

The planned anti-Muslim protest didn't seem to materialize. Instead, a rally celebrating multiculturalism and diversity occupied the space.

Lethbridge rally to promote cultural diversity
Dozens gathered at Lethbridge City Hall to support Muslims like Aslam Piprawala Saturday, after hearing about an anti-Muslim rally being organized. 
Piprawala, a chaplain at the Lethbridge Muslim Association, was wrapping up at the Islamic Centre Friday night when his friend informed him that the group ‘Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens’ organized a rally to stand up against Sharia Law and Globalization.....Kristina Larkin chose to counter the anti-Sharia Law rally by organizing a rally of her own, showing support for the Muslim community and other minority groups. 
“It’s always very important to stand up against the possibility that racism, Islamophobia, division, hatred, might be the narrative that people hear from Lethbridge,” Larkin said. 
“It’s always important to stand up against those things because that is not who we are.”Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman made an appearance at the event to echo that. 
“We’ve always benefited in our city from people who’ve come here from elsewhere. In no time at all they’re working and they’re contributing to our community. We don’t really have a tolerance for those who believe we should be shutting people out,” Spearman said. 
The Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens didn’t show up for its rally which was scheduled at the same time and location.
Vancouver:

No information thus far, which truth be told is a surprise. We thought there would be something in the city but so far there hasn't been any reports to us or in the msm.

Surrey:

Incidentally, since George Soros is apparently paying left-wing activists all over the place,
according to people like this, where the hell is my cheque?!? I've been at this for almost a
decade and still haven't received any money from the Hungarian born businessman. I mean
does he not have my address? Do I need to interview for a position? Throw me a bone here....
Victoria:

The lone anti-Muslim protester frightened off by other people exercising their democratic right to protest.... because women with purple hair are scary I guess.


4 comments:

UU4077 said...

Not sure why they're protesting against Bill M-103. It's just a statement that most Canadians are not a$$holes. You can still be an a$$hole if you want.

Anonymous said...

In Toronto we had them pinned against a wall and the police had to escort the racists out through a rat line one by one.

Anonymous said...

for Quebec city


https://www.facebook.com/pg/actionantifaqbc/photos/?tab=album&album_id=389788244731893

Anonymous said...

Dean Clifford was released on March 7th, according to Paul Fiola's facebook page.