Saturday, March 21, 2009
Anti-Racism Rally - Calgary
Canadian cities are generally not like European or even American cities in the sense that we do not have a long memory of conflicting ideologies waging bloody battles in our streets. During the Vietnam war and the Civil rights movement there was almost constant violence in American cities as protesters clashed with police, or political rallies got out of hand.
I went downtown today add my humble presence to an anti-racism rally not really knowing what to expect, but thinking that Calgary has generally been a really peaceful city. I knew ahead of time that there would likely be a clash between the anti-racism rally and the Calgary chapter of the Aryan Guard.
The anti-racism rally started at Calgary Hall with a strong police presence and a vibrant atmosphere. I would say the crowd numbered around 300 and was demographically quite young. In the meantime the Aryan Guard coalesced their members in the North East and came downtown shortly after 3pm. They began marching from 10st West toward City Hall but got pinned down at the C-Train station at 7th Avenue and 5th Street. At this point they had no where to go with anti-racism protesters and police on all sides.
Eventually the police broke a line for them and they headed north to 6th Avenue. This is when it turned ugly. There was throwing of objects and veteran Calgary Sun columnist Rick Bell got injured with the end of a flag pole. A few arrests and other minor injuries.
A bus was brought in and the Aryans were shipped out of downtown.
At the end of it I'm left scratching my head as to where we are heading in our urban culture. And it comes at the end of a week when our buffoon of an Immigration minister thought out loud about how immigrants need to integrate. I cant help it - I think that mentality is a direct play into the hands of racists. Please recommend this post