Anti-racist group says it identified 2 Canadians at Charlottesville rally
An anti-racist group says it has identified two Canadians who marched alongside white nationalists at a deadly weekend rally in Virginia.
“The goal is simple,” Anti-Pegida Quebec said in a statement. “Nazi behaviour must not be accepted, tolerated or excused… (T)hese people from Montreal crossed borders to commit hateful and violent acts, it’s a crime!”
Anti-Pegida Quebec, which draws its name from European anti-Islam group PEGIDA, posted screengrabs on its Facebook page from a portion of a VICE News documentary from Charlottesville in which five Canadian men are featured. The group claims to have identified two of the men, both of whom, they say, are from Quebec.
“Twelve hours from our car -- we've been driving from north of the border,” one of the men says in the VICE News documentary, speaking in accented English. “In Canada, hurting people's feelings is basically illegal.”
According to the anti-racist group, one of those men is a known member of La Meute, a far-right Quebec-based anti-Islam group.
In an interview with CTV Montreal, however, La Meute spokesperson Sylvain Brouillette said the outed individual claims that he is not a white supremacist but nevertheless voluntarily withdrew his membership Tuesday night so as not to implicate La Meute with his personal actions.
La Meute, which has hosted demonstrations against radical Islam and illegal immigration, mostly operates as a private Facebook group -- a necessity, Brouillette said, as members fear losing their jobs if they were to be outed. The group, he said, will still go ahead with a planned demonstration in Quebec City on Sunday.
The legality of identifying demonstration participants online depends on the context, Montreal lawyer Mark Bantey, who specializes in media law, told CTV Montreal.
“Once you're participating in a demonstration, it's fair game to publish your photo,” he said. “It's fair game to identify you as a participant.”
The only limitation, he cautioned, is defamation laws.
“Make sure if you are going to call people out that you've got the right people and that you don't go too far in your comments,” he said.
Anti-Pegida Quebec follows the lead of the Twitter account @YesYoureRacist, which has made a name for itself by posting photos of participants at white nationalist rallies in the hopes of identifying them.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Denise Roberts