Bikers gather to oppose 'fear mongering' by police, 'pandering' by premier
We 'will not be intimidated' says bikers' group, citing charter rights
A group which says it represents clubs and independent motorcyclists in Atlantic Canada says it "vehemently opposes the government's attempts to erode the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the sons and daughters of P.E.I."
The statement was posted on the group's Facebook page after about 100 people, including some wearing various motorcycle club jackets, met at Hot Shots Sports Bar, Saturday in Charlottetown.
About 15 RCMP and city police officers stood nearby and watched.
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The meeting was organized by the The Atlantic Confederation of Clubs and Independents, which describes itself as a not-for-profit association. The ACC also issued a written statement before Saturday's gathering on its website.
P.E.I. looking at new legislation
"We believe the actions taken recently to be fear mongering by the police and political pandering by the premier," reads part of the statement.
On Jan. 19, P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan announced he'd directed his department to look at legislative changes, which could include "banning gang colours in bars, making the construction of fortified buildings illegal, and regulating the sale of body armour," according to a news release.
"We, the motorcycle community, will not be intimidated and threatened or allow our Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be eroded for political gain or law enforcement agendas," said the statement from ACC.
The ACC gathering, and the premier's comments, come after police sounded the alarm in December that Hells Angels had set up a chapter on P.E.I.
Group fighting 'discrimination against bikers'
People wearing Hells Angels jackets from New Brunswick and Ontario attended the Saturday meeting in Charlottetown. Other motorcycle jackets observed outside the meeting included those of Bacchus, Red Devils from Quebec and Gate Keepers from Nova Scotia.
ACC declined Monday to speak to CBC News, but the group's Facebook page says the purpose of the group is "to fight discrimination against bikers."
The provincial department of Justice and Public Safety released a further statement Monday.
"Government does not intend to implement any legislation that would infringe on anyone's Charter rights. The goal of this initiative is to minimize the impacts of criminal organizations and protect the safety of Islanders."
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With files from Radio-Canada's Catherine Dumas