EDMONTON — Local government officials are speaking out against a large group of people who could be heard shouting “all lives matter” during a clash in northeast Edmonton Tuesday night, calling it hate speech and bigotry.
About 30 officers were called to a shopping centre in a parking lot at 118 Avenue and 82 Street at around 8 p.m. to separate two groups of about 50 people each, after a dispute erupted into pushing and shoving.
One group was chanting “Black lives matter” while the other was shouting “all lives matter.”
People on both sides of the dispute told CTV News Edmonton they were not affiliated with any particular groups.
The group calling themselves “patriots” accused the others of being “anti-fascists,” while people on that side accused their rivals of being “Nazis.”
“We’re not hateful. I’m a proud Canadian Patriot. I love my country. I’m tired of seeing racial division. We just believe all lives are equal, all lives matter,” said one man involved in the skirmish, who declined to provide his name or affiliation.
Mayor Don Iveson tweeted “racists are NOT patriots & hate speech is NOT acceptable in [Edmonton].
“White folks aggressively spitting ‘all lives matter’ inelegantly proves the point that Black, Indigenous & People of Colour’s lives have not yet been universally afforded equal value in our society. STOP IT.”
Victoria Stevens, who lives in nearby Delton, said she saw a “Canadian Patriots” event posted online, and came to protest them.
“I couldn’t let this happen without being down here to fight this white supremacy and this racism,” Stevens said.
Members of the “patriots” group repeatedly denied accusations that they were racist or a hate group, but Stevens didn’t buy that.
“Of course they say they’re not. Because they know Nazi is a bad word. They know white supremacy is not something people want to hear, but they are. They absolutely are,” Stevens said.
Kaycee Madu, Alberta’s justice minister and MLA for Edmonton-South West, referred to them as “a small group of sad losers.”
Police briefly handcuffed and detained one man after a fight nearly broke out, but he was released when the two sides dispersed around 9:15 p.m. It didn’t appear that anyone was injured and an officer said no charges were expected.
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