Rally against 'organized hatred' planned for Hamilton city hall Saturday

A group of Hamilton residents will hold a rally Saturday to protest the yellow vest demonstrations that happen outside city hall every weekend.
Paul Fromm, a noted white nationalist who ran for mayor in Hamilton, is seen here at a yellow vest protest in front of city hall. (Hamilton Against Fascism/Facebook)

A group of Hamilton residents will hold a rally Saturday to protest the yellow vest demonstrations that happen outside city hall every weekend.

The organizers — a small group of activists who were also involved in the Hamilton Women's March — say it'll be a "peaceful demonstration" showing that "organized hatred has no place in our city." 

They issued a statement Wednesday stressing safety, advising attendees not to arrive or leave alone, or to bring children. The statement encourages "signs, noisemakers, and a commitment to a non-violent protest."

The rally comes amid a series of events that have led to increasing friction in the city. 

Many have criticized the city for allowing the yellow vests to demonstrate on city property every Saturday. The yellow vest movement started in Europe over rising fuel prices but has expanded in North American to include the far right. 

Some people in yellow vests appeared in Gage Park at a Pride festival last weekend, when several Pride supporters were injured in a violent confrontation that included religious protesters bearing huge anti-LGBTQ signs. 

In the statement announcing this Saturday's event, the organizers said they're "horrified and heartbroken" over what happened. But "our action exists not as a reaction, but as a result of us examining the ways we could better put our privilege to use in service to our community."

The yellow vest demonstrations, and what many see as the city's apparent complacency that they're happening, were a frequent topic at an LGBTQ community conversation Tuesday.

The city's LGBTQ advisory committee, which held the event, asked the city not to raise the Pride flag this month. (The city did anyway, but didn't hold a ceremony.) It cited a lack of diversity in who the city selects to sit on its boards and committees, and the slow pace at which the city is implementing a two-year-old transgender and gender non-conforming protocol.

The committee is also upset that the city continues to employ Marc Lemire, the former head of a white supremacist organization, in its IT department.

Det. Paul Corrigan from the Hamilton Police Services hate crimes unit said Tuesday that police will plan for the Saturday event.

"Our main concern is public safety," he said. "We usually plan for the worst and hope for the best."


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