B.C. Premier John Horgan has condemned a rally planned by far-right protesters in Vancouver, saying British Columbians — and Canadians — "must stand united and denounce them in the strongest possible terms."
Plans for the demonstration cropped up early in the week, not long after a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Organizers said they would be protesting against Islam and the federal government's immigration policies at Vancouver City Hall on Saturday.
A counter-protest was soon organized by the ad hoc Stand Up to Racism Metro Vancouver coalition.
More than 3,500 people on Facebook have responded, saying they plan to be at that event — which is also being held at city hall on Saturday.
On Friday, Horgan said the provincial government supports those counter-protesters.
"Hate has no place in our province. We reject all forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance and bigotry," he said in a statement.
"When we are confronted by hate, we all have a responsibility to take action. We will continue to stand up for the values shared by the vast majority of British Columbians: equality, inclusiveness and unity."
He added: "To those who are participating in anti-racism counter-events in Vancouver and across the province, we support you and wish you a safe and peaceful demonstration."
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Roberston also condemned the far-right event on Wednesday, saying "hate and racism have no place in this city."