Anti-Trudeau, anti-racism demonstrators clash in Toronto; four arrested
Published Saturday, October 21, 2017 6:33PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 22, 2017 10:13AM EDT
A group of anti-Trudeau protesters and anti-racism counter-demonstrators clashed in Toronto on Saturday.
According to organizers, the anti-Trudeau protest was planned as a means of expressing displeasure with the Liberal government’s tax policies, spending and controversial multi-million dollar settlement with former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr.
Held at Nathan Phillips Square, the protest was met by counter-demonstrators who accused the former group of using an anti-Trudeau stance as a veneer for far-right and racist views.
Police separated the two sides and oversaw the tense standoff. Behind them, protestors held signs expressing both anti-Islam and pro-free speech views while many counter-demonstrators held signs urging tolerance and love.
At least one woman was injured during the dueling demonstrations and an officer was assaulted. According to police, four people were arrested for disturbing the peace.
“There’s many people, many Canadians that oppose Justin Trudeau and what he’s doing right now, and I wanted give people an opportunity to come together, voice their opinion, meet other like-minded Canadians,” Ronny Cameron, who helped organized the ‘Let Trudeau Know He Has To Go!’ rally, told CP24.
“And, unfortunately, Antifa shows up and tries to make it seem like we’re a bunch of racists -- and we’re obviously not.”
Cameron, a self-described “political activist and social commentator,” uses his social media accounts to espouse anti-Islam and other far-right opinions.
Sarah Khan, a counter-demonstrator and a member of the group, “SAFE: Solidarity Against Fascism Everywhere,” said that right-wing activists like Cameron are using concerns about the federal Liberals to mask their true intentions.
“Over the last year, there’s been a serious rise of far-right hate groups and white supremacist organizations showing up, not just across our city, but specifically convening at Nathan Philips Square,” Khan told CP24 from the scene.
Khan linked their increased visibility with the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.
“I know today they’re out here with a message that they say is anti-Trudeau,” Khan added, “but these are the same folks and the same groups we’ve seen over and over again since the beginning of the year.”
With files from CP24