Tense times as opposing rallies clash at Winnipeg City Hall
Published Sunday, March 19, 2017 11:02AM CST
Last Updated Monday, March 20, 2017 1:00AM CST
Tense times in Winnipeg Sunday as two separate groups protesting in the streets clashed.
One rally organized by the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens opposed a federal motion calling for Ottawa to condemn Islamophobia.
The other, organized by a group called Fascist Free Treaty 1, showed up in response to combat racism from people on the other side.
At Winnipeg City Hall, men wearing jackets bearing the patch of the group Soldiers of Odin Canada came to stand up against federal M-103.
The motion asks the government to study how systemic racism and Islamophobia could be eliminated or reduced.
On Facebook, the group writes that they are volunteers here to “help Canadians regardless of race, colour or creed,” and keep communities safe.
People from both rallies got physical, pushing or hitting others from the opposing rally.
Winnipeg police say no one was hurt or arrested.
“We are here to have everyone's voices heard equally,” said one man with the word ‘President’ printed on his Soldiers of Odin Canada jacket.
“They're actually here to exercise their racist right to free speech,” another man’s voice yelled out from the crowd.
He was from a member of a second rally set up to disrupt to the anti-motion message.
"Our movement is just building. They're trying to recruit white power and stuff, and we are not going to let that happen," said Omar Kinnarath with Fascist Free Treaty 1.
For about an hour, police officers followed the two groups as people marched and shouted.
Both sides are concerned about the outcome of M-103. Those against it say it infringes on their rights.
"All we want is freedom of speech, so you can say what you want about something and not have to worry about charging, or arresting you," said one man who told CTV News he opposes M-103.
People against those voicing opposition to M-103 are vowing to continue protesting at their events.
“We are very angry about it and we want to let them know about it,” said protester Jon Benson.
The motion on systemic racism and religious discrimination will be debated for a second time in the House of Commons on Tuesday.