Planned far-right rally for Kew Gardens cancelled but counter-protest will continue
Residents are shown attending an anti-racism block party at Kew Gardens on Saturday. The event was organized in response to a since cancelled rally by a far right group. (Cristina Tenaglia)
Chris Fox, CTV Toronto
Published Saturday, November 4, 2017 12:22PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, November 4, 2017 2:52PM EDT
Several anti-racism groups are holding a ‘block party’ in Kew Gardens this afternoon following the cancellation of a planned rally that they say was organized by neo-Nazi’s.
A group identifying themselves as the Canadian National Front had planned to hold the ‘Anti Trudeau” rally in the east-end park today but on Friday night the chairman of the group took to Twitter to announce the cancellation of the event.
“Tomorrow's rally is cancelled, no further rallies for the next few months,” Kevin Goudreau wrote. “Taking next couple months to reorganize, strengthen and build our membership base while spreading our message but will have meetings, events.”
On his Twitter account Goudreau denies having any involvement in the neo-Nazi movement and suggests that neo-Nazi and fascist rallies don’t take place in Canada and are “all made up by the Communist, Socialist leftist degenerates.”
Goudreau, however, has organized “white pride” rallies in the past, the most recent of which taking place in Peterborough in March.
A number of pictures online also show Goudreau with a large swastika tattooed on his chest.
In a message posted to Facebook on Friday, police in 55 Division said that it is possible that there was never a plan to hold the rally and that it was just a ruse "to get people fired up and angry."
"No permit was applied for or granted by the city. In the ever-so-reliable social media world, the protest then began being spread as a white supremacist, neo-Nazi and fascist protest," the post said.
Police later deleted the post after apologizing for language "that was misleading" and "offended some readers."
“I don’t really care what he (Goudreau) has to say. It is a Nazi rally. They can disguise it any way they want,” activist Bob Chandler told CP24 at the block party on Saturday afternoon. “I oppose the presence of Nazis in our community. Our city is about equality, diversity, solidarity and all the great people you see here today. Anybody that is trying to disrupt that I am opposed to.”
The ‘block party’ was initially put together as a counter-protest to the Canadian National Front rally but organizers decided to continue with the event, even after the far right rally was scrapped.
About 100 people showed up to the block party on Saturday, which included speeches and live music.
“It is a fantastic turnout. You can really tell that people opposed Nazism and hatred in all of its forms,” Jeremy William of the labour group Socialist FightBack told CP24. “Look at the number of people who have come out in the cold.”
In a message posted to the Facebook page for the event earlier this week, organizers urged residents to fill the park with some “community” and help prevent the spread of “evil ideology.”
The block party was organized by Solidarity Against Fascism Everywhere (SAFE), The General Defence Committee of the IWW and East Enders Against Racism.