UPDATE: Mar 15, 2010
Anti-Racist Action, the group spearheading a counter-rally against a white pride march scheduled for Mar 21, says it expects hundreds to show up in support of multiculturalism.
Anti-Racist Action’s Maitland Cassia says his group has “absolutely nothing to indicate” that Advocates for White Civil Rights have abandoned their plans to march through the Lower Mainland Sunday.
If the white pride contingent does show up, Cassia says, they’ll be regaled with music and costumed activists bearing placards.
“And if they don’t, then we’re going to consider the space successfully reclaimed for multiculturalism, and we’re going to celebrate,” he adds.
Vancouver police say they were aware of “some planned activity” several months ago, but say there’s “no confirming information” that a white pride march is going to occur. Nor does the name Advocates for White Civil Rights “ring a bell.”
“We believe the plans, the intent, was to [have a march, but] where they’re at today seems to be in a weaker place, if you will, or less likely,” the Vancouver Police Department’s (VPD) diversity section head Insp John deHaas told Xtra West, Mar 15.
If the white pride march is going to happen, deHaas adds, “I think the numbers we’re looking [at] are very small,” and “not of concern.”
He says the VPD’s intelligence unit is keeping track of the situation and is “aware” of the two men, Travis Annan and Lee Peacock, whom anti-racist activists allege are the leaders of the white pride march. “Our concerns are the same, it’s that there’s no crimes committed advocating genocide, or promoting hatred, or committing any property [offenses], or offenses against the person that are motivated by bias, prejudice or hate,” deHaas says.
Mar 10, 2010
Anti-racist activists say a white supremacist group is planning a march through three Lower Mainland cities, Mar 21, to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Racism.
A statement attributed to the Advocates for White Civil Rights and carried on the website of the Anti-Racist Collective says the march will make its way through Coquitlam, Burnaby and Vancouver.
“Everybody who believes in White Civil Rights are welcome to join in on the beginning of the revolution,” according to the quoted statement.
“After the March we will feast and celebrate The one holiday devoted to the Beautiful, Wonderful, Masterful White Race,” it further states.
An email sent by another group calling itself Anti-Racist Action says the white pride rally plans to assemble at Braid SkyTrain station in New Westminster at noon on Mar 21 and march between stations, ending at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
A number of anti-racist groups and students from area colleges and universities will stage a multicultural pride march of their own to shadow the Advocates for White Civil Rights.
Despite several online searches, Xtra West hasn’t yet been able to corroborate whether a white pride rally will take place. But Anti-Racist Action’s Maitland Cassia is expecting 50 “hardcores” of the Advocates for White Civil Rights to show up at Braid station.
Cassia says the white pride group originally had details about the Vancouver march up on Facebook, but those were pulled after being repeatedly reported as offensive.
“They had their forum and event planned through a site called Peacock.net which is run by the vice-president for Advocates for White Civil Rights, Lee Peacock,” says Cassia, adding that that site also went down two days after the Facebook event was withdrawn.
But Cassia says there’s no indication that the Mar 21 event has been cancelled.
“So we have to proceed [as if it is going ahead],” Cassia told Xtra West, Mar 10.
The white pride group has a presence on Vancouver Island, where there will also be a gathering, he notes.
To the best of Cassia’s knowledge, there hasn’t been “an attempted white pride march in Vancouver in about 15 years.”
Cassia says there will be no attempt to block the march as it is “protected under freedom of speech.”
“We have no intention of doing that,” he says, but there will be a sizeable, peaceful, multicultural counter-rally in response to the march.
Cassia also notes there’s an online petition to the city of Burnaby aimed at preventing the white pride group from gathering at the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, the site of its post-march feast.
“That particular area, being as it is secluded and private, that would be a security nightmare, and I consider it an unacceptable risk for the various people that might be using that facility at the time,” Cassia says.