Anti-Islam, anti-fascist groups clash at Calgary city hall

The Worldwide Coalition Against Islam and the Calgary Anti-Fascist Action rallied outside Calgary’s city hall on Saturday, with the opposing groups both saying they want the right to free speech.

Rally was vocal and hostile at times, but not violent

Members of the group Worldwide Coalition Against Islam clashed with members of the group Calgary Anti-Fascist Action outside Calgary city hall. (Kate Adach/CBC)

With both saying they want the right to free speech, two groups with opposing views rallied outside Calgary's city hall on Saturday.

On one side were supporters of a group called the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam, which is against M-103, a non-binding motion condemning Islamophobia and religious discrimination passed in the House of Commons earlier this year.

"We are standing together to get [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau out," Sandra Solomon, who spoke at the event, told CBC News.

Opposing the coalition was a smaller but vocal group called Calgary Anti-Fascist Action.

Among them, a woman held a sign saying her grandfather fought against Nazis and now she feels she's doing the same.

"I'm sorry, I'm just a bit emotional about it, just the fact that history's being allowed to repeat itself," said the woman, who asked her name not be published.

"One of the fellows here … in the other group, he wants a neighbourhood of only Muslims so if anything goes down they can bomb that neighbourhood and kill all the Muslims. That's the same thing as a Jewish ghetto, the exact same thing."

The rally was vocal and hostile at times, but not violent.

The two groups shouted insults back and forth but about two dozen police officers kept things from escalating into physical confrontations.

One person, however, was seen being led away by police in handcuffs. 

The rally was part of a cross-Canada tour by the members of the coalition and they plan to hold the next rally in Edmonton.

With files from Kate Adach and Erin Collins