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Mayor Robertson encourages counter-protest ahead of far-right rally

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Vancouver's mayor is encouraging people to push back against bigotry

Worldwide Coalition Against Islam and the Cultural Action Party are behind the rally planned for Saturday

The Stand Up to Racism group is planning a counter-protest

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A confrontation is brewing in Vancouver as counter-protesters prepare to meet a rally of far-right groups at city hall.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says his administration is working with Vancouver police and city hall security to ensure that whatever happens on Saturday remains safe and peaceful.

He is also encouraging people to push back against bigotry, saying the city has “zero tolerance of hatred and racism and discrimination.”

“I think it’s really important that people speak out at every opportunity against racism and hatred,” Robertson says. “I know there will be a vigorous turnout of people protesting the white supremacist rally, whatever that turns out to be. I think there’s no place for that in Vancouver.”

The Worldwide Coalition Against Islam and the Cultural Action Party are behind the rally, and have been actively encouraging other like-minded groups to participate. A Facebook post promoting the event has since been removed, but NEWS 1130 has confirmed with an organizer that the rally is still a go.

This has not gone unnoticed by Isabelle Rowe-Codner and her group Stand Up to Racism, who are planning a counter-protest.

“Any promotion of hatefulness and of bigotry in our community should go opposed, because hate speech eventually becomes hate crimes, and we don’t want what happened in Charlottesville to happen in our community, and so we have to be there to make sure our voices are louder” she says.

Rowe-Codner adds Stand Up to Racism will have “peace bearers” at the rally to break up any violence that springs up, as well as trained medics to deal with possible injuries.

While they normally operate outside public view, white nationalist groups have been placed in the spotlight recently because of high-profile clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia.