It is not shaping up to be another full-scale occupation, but Ottawa residents are bracing for the continued presence of far-right demonstrators, many if not most of whom were part of February’s convoy.
On August 11th, the Calgary-based Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI) is holding a rally at Nathan Phillips Square at 2PM. They are hoping for 200 to attend, including the most physically aggressive far-right groups like the Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys, and the Northern Guard.
Counter-demonstrators will be at the square at 1PM and are expected to include anti-fascist and anti-racist groups, labour, Jewish community groups, and faith groups. In Toronto, counter-demonstrators usually match or outnumber far-right rallies. When the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam tried to host a rally in Vancouver, they were overwhelmed by 5000 peaceful anti-racist demonstrators. They haven't been back since.
To join the counter-demonstration, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/661828034173325/
This comes on the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which saw neo-Nazis marching with tiki torches past a synagogue shouting “Jews will not replace us!” The rally culminated in a neo-Nazi murdering Heather Heyer and injuring several others when he drove his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators.
The leader of WCAI, Joey De Luca is a criminal with convictions for drug dealing and assault causing bodily harm. De Luca celebrated the murder of Heather Heyer, as did his Vice President Jesse Wielenga. Both say they found it funny.
Here is what they represent, in their own words:
“Our logo is a picture of a Muslim getting booted the hell out of the country. I mean we can’t get any more straightforward with our message than that.”
-Joey De Luca
“In my speeches I refer to [Muslims] as sewage and scum and filth - parasites - because it’s what they are . . . A country is like a beautiful, crystal, glacier lake. You know? A pure lake. Pure, clean water that you can drink out of and swim in. And then all of a sudden you start dumping sewage into it, eventually that lake becomes like, contaminated. And it ruins the quality of the water in that lake. And by dumping Muslims into certain communities – certain like, mass immigration, it’s the same effect as dumping sewage into a lake.”
-Joey De Luca
“Can we just start executing muslims see if they get the point”
Wielenga also shares antisemitic memes and posts like wpww (White Pride World Wide), 14/88 (referring to the infamous Fourteen Words, and 88 stands for ‘Heil Hitler’), and other unmistakable neo-Nazi signifiers.
The Soldiers of Odin, a group De Luca describes as the Finnish approved Soldiers of Odin, is also attending. The SOO were founded by a neo-Nazi in Finland found guilty of racially motivated assaults. In Canada, their early leaders and members had extensive ties to neo-Nazism. The organization splintered, but remnants of the original Soldiers of Odin remain.
As the Anti-Racist Canada blog has exposed, leaders and members of the Northern Guard have openly displayed neo-Nazi symbols on their social media profiles (eg. swastika flags).
The Canadian Combat Coalition, the least militant of the groups expected on August 11th, held the most recent rally on Parliament Hill. Other so-called patriot groups like La Meute boycotted the event, calling the Canadian Combat Coalition and the other people who attended “Nazis.”
The core group of Proud Boys that continue to attend rallies in Ontario have initiated a number of unprovoked, one-sided assaults. They are known to wear combat gloves and challenge counter-demonstrators to fight. This includes Brandon Vaughan, who has a warrant out for his arrest in the United States for his role in the beating of a Palestinian professor at a demonstration in 2017. Vaughan was also detained on February 18th for shoving a counter demonstrator on Parliament Hill. Another member of the Proud Boys was detained after he ran over to a counter-demonstrator lying on the ground and kicked them in the head at Nathan Phillips Square on April 28th.
“They think they’re going to stop us,” De Luca says in a video. “I’ve said it before and we’ve done it - if the left try to stop us, shut us down, we’ll march right through them. Simple as that.”
“We may need you to knock Antifa flying if they get in the way,” De Luca tells a supporter on Facebook. An individual who De Luca identifies as part of the Ontario chapter of WCAI writes “I Am going to face f*** soooo so many commie antifa gooooofs can’t wait to bring the pain and unleash th3 beast (sic).”
After the rally, the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam intends to lead their own torch march through Toronto, mirroring the Nazi-inspired torch march in Charlottesville last year.
Through their Facebook account and other social media, the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam has repeatedly published material calling for violence against our Muslim neighbours including calls for genocide and the murder of Member of Parliament Iqra Khalid.
"The evidence supported Criminal Code charges for hate propaganda offences against the leadership of the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam when we first reported the matter to the police over a year ago" says Richard Warman, lawyer and board member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. "Toronto has to hold an anti-hate rally next weekend because the law hasn't been enforced against these hatemongers and they feel emboldened. We urge law enforcement to take action immediately."