Montreal police say there won’t be any criminal charges laid against a man who waved a Nazi flag from atop a condo building during a May Day protest earlier this month.
The man was photographed holding the flag on the roof of a condo building on Hutchison Street in the city’s Park Extension neighbourhood on May 2 as demonstrators walked below. Police were notified after the image was posted on the Facebook page of a neighbourhood group called the Parc-Ex Action Squad.
The Montreal police’s hate crimes division investigated the incident, but said there won’t be any charges against the man holding the flag.
“Having a flag by itself, that's not criminal,” Insp. Ian Lafreniere told CTV Montreal on Tuesday. “But if you're using this in a different context, for example, to provoke or to cause a commotion, it could be different laws that apply to that.”
Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said he believes the man was trying to send a message with the flag.
“I would say it’s a provocation,” he said.
Farber also said residents in the city are frustrated that police appear to be slow to arrest people who spread hate.
“In other provinces, we know for example, that there have been hate charges that have been laid in various accounts over many years. We have just not seen the same in Montreal,” he said.
In Canada, there aren’t any laws that restrict the ownership or display of Nazi flags; however, hate laws do allow police to intervene if they’re used in the communication of hatred.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Rob Lurie and The Canadian Press