Okay, so sometimes my country is just friggin’ awesome:
A white supremacist rally in Edmonton’s downtown lasted only minutes when the demonstrators fled into a subway stairwell after they were greeted by over 100 anti-racist counter-protesters. Police then blocked subway platform entrances until the roughly two dozen self described white pride demonstrators, most of them masked, were able to leave on a train.
Police spokesman Scott Pattison said at one point as the racist group was nearing the site near Edmonton City Hall, both sides clashed briefly, but police separated them quickly.
So a bunch of cowardly neo-Nazi shitheads decided to put on a “white pride” rally. I have no issue at all with white people showing pride in their accomplishments – there’s a lot of them. “White pride” as a movement, however, has always meant (and continues to mean) overt expressions of antipathy toward other groups. White supremacy is a pathetic and risible philosophy, not only because it is demonstrably untrue (there is no scientific correlation between things that code for phenotypic race and any yardstick by which we could demonstrate the ‘supremacy’ of one vs. another), but because it is often most strongly espoused by those who simply have nothing else about which to feel superior.
When we explored Canada’s black history, we learned that racism is not exactly a recent import to Edmonton, nor is it ancient history. These kinds of demonstrations crop up periodically, flame out and fizzle in places all over the country (a similar demonstration happened in London, Ontario). It is a source of some comfort to know that there is a countervailing group of anti-racist protesters who have no patience for the throwback adolescent bullshit that is the White Power movement.
And they don’t get everything right:
Anti-racist demonstrators ran from entrance to entrance of the subway in an effort to follow the rally, and expressed their frustration at police who were blocking the doors.
“I think it’s a shame that our tax dollars are being used to coddle and protect racist hate groups in our city,” said one anti-racist protester with a megaphone. “Shame on police for coddling extremists. They should be ashamed of themselves,” he added.
If you think it’s a shame for police to uphold the Charter-guaranteed right of free speech, then I’ve got to ask what you think the proper function of police is. I went to a few demonstrations at Occupy Vancouver, and whenever the protest spilled out into the street, police were there protecting us without fail. I sincerely doubt they thought very highly of the demonstrations moving through downtown at peak hours, but they recognized that we had a right to protest, and they defended that. The fact that Occupy is not a hate group is a distinction without a difference with regard to whether or not speech is protected.
The other thing to consider, of course, is what would have happened if the groups had been allowed to clash. Something tells me that the resulting violence would not reflect well on the supposedly benevolent intentions of the anti-racist protesters. “Anti-racist heroes chase off white supremacist goons” makes for a much better headline than “6 injured,1 seriously, as white power group chased down by anti-racist mob”.
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