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Vancouver police prepare for dueling rallies at city hall

FILE - Vancouver City Hall. (Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – When dueling protests over race and culture descend on city hall this weekend, Vancouver police officers may face the daunting task of deciding when they have to intervene.

The department is not releasing many details of its plans for the protest, but Sergeant Jason Roubillard says the department is gathering intelligence.

They’re also well aware of the circumstances around the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.

“What we do is we have to weigh citizens’ rights to free speech with the right for public safety,” he says.

“The criteria for making that (decision), it’s hard. It’s very subjective to each officer. So each officer is going to have to make that decision on their own, or collectively as a group. But it’s based on intelligence, sometimes it’s based on things you see.”

Far-right groups like the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam and Cultural Action Party are planning to protest Islam and the Canadian government’s immigration policies Saturday afternoon. A number of counter-protests are also being planned.