The activist group No One Is Illegal-Vancouver is preparing to confront what it says is a neo-Nazi rally being planned for March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Although white-supremacist demonstrations have occurred on this day in Calgary and other Canadian cities in recent years, No One Is Illegal member Sumayya Kassamali told the Straight today (March 8) that B.C.’s Lower Mainland hasn’t seen such a gathering in a long time.
“It seems like the voices that may have been quieter before are now feeling like...I don’t know whether they’re feeling threatened or they’re just feeling like maybe they have more public support...and they can come out and really publicly say things that we would consider completely atrocious and despicable,” Kassamali said.
She also noted that anti-immigrant sentiment in North America appears to have increased following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In Canada, according to her, such feelings may have been fanned by the terrorism case involving the so-called Toronto 18.
Kassamali said that some people hold the notion that Canada has become “too lax on immigrants” and that immigrants are “becoming violent, and they’re not grateful”.
The white-pride rally, according to No One Is Illegal, will start at 11 a.m. at the Braid SkyTrain station in New Westminster.
Kassamali said that antiracist protesters will also gather at the same location.