Hundreds of anti-racist protesters claimed “victory” after an expected neo-Nazi march failed to materialize Sunday in the Lower Mainland.
Several hundred anti-racists — including about 30 black-mask-wearing anarchists — gathered at New Westminster’s Braid SkyTrain station at noon, to repel the proposed “Advocates for White Civil Rights” rally.
A number of police officers monitored the scene, including a B.C. Hate Crime Team investigator.
Police said they took the threat of violence seriously, as a clash between white supremacists and antiracists occurred in Calgary last year on March 21, which is International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
There was a confrontation when two men from Coquitlam approached the anarchist group and allegedly spat on a banner.
The Province also spoke to one man, who would not give his name and who conveyed white-supremacist views. The man was seen videotaping anti-racist protesters, without making his views known to the antiracists.
When anti-racist groups dispersed at Braid station, Sgt. Mark Applejohn of transit police said there had been indications online months ago of a group planning a white-pride rally on March 21, but in the end it was a “non-event.”
At the station, Maitland Cassia, a spokesman for the Vancouver chapter of Anti-Racist Action, said he believed several “scouts” for the white-pride group had turned up and quickly retreated.
“At this point, [the white-pride group] have obviously bitten off more than they can chew,” Cassia said.
“I’m pretty comfortable declaring victory.”