Protesters at an anti-immigrant march in Vancouver on Sunday.

VIDEO: Three Soldiers of Odin arrested during Vancouver anti-racism march

The group said it attended the weekend march to protest against a group called Antifa



Three members of the Soldiers of Odin were arrested by Vancouver police after disrupting an anti-racism gathering on Sunday.

The march was organized by the Pacific Coalition Against Bigotry, which has been leading these marches annually for decades.

The Soldiers of Odin share a name, but they say not an ideology, with an anti-immigrant group in Europe. The Canadian chapter’s Facebook page says they “first and foremost are here to help any Canadian in need regardless of race, colour or creed.”

READ: Soldiers of Odin on Maple Ridge patrol

Gurpreet Singh attended the march on Sunday. He said the scuffle between the Soldiers of Odin members and the other protesters broke out shortly after the event reached Victory Square at 2 p.m.

“They were already arguing. We noticed a heated exchange between two guys,” said Singh, an independent journalist who has been attending the annual marches for over a decade.

“These, the Soldiers of Odin, were holding a Canadian flag and they wanted to wade into the crowd where everyone was gathered.”

The organizers tried to stop them, he said, and then the altercation broke out.

A person responding to a message sent to the Soldiers of Odin Facebook page confirmed their members had attended the march to protest Antifa, a group that describes itself as “engaged in struggle against all fascists, nationalists, white supremacists, and Nazi sympathizers.” The spokesperson did not reply by deadline about the fight.

“We made a presence there to expose Antifa for what it actually is – not to intimidate or harm anyone,” the person using the Facebook page told Black Press.

Singh said the Soldiers of Odin had been hurling insults at marchers before the fight broke out.

“I cannot 100 per cent say who started it first, but obviously the Soldiers of Odin were trying to wade into the crowd and the crowd didn’t want them to be any closer,” he said.

According to VPD Const. Jason Doucette, officers had been assigned to assist with the march and only acted to prevent the “pushing and shoving” from getting worse.

“In an attempt to prevent the situation from escalating, police officers arrested three men … for breach of the peace and removed them from the crowd,” said Doucette. “These men identified themselves as members of the group Soldiers of Odin.”

The gathering continued after the arrests were made. The three men were released without charges later that day, after the gathering had concluded.

The Pacific Coalition Against Bigotry has not yet responded to requests for comment.

 


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Star Wars auction in Langley draws ‘crazy’ response

Seller said to be “very happy” with results

Police sketch shows suspect in assault of 23-year-old woman

Incident took place Nov. 14 on Maclure Road in Abbotsford

An unpleasant surprise online for Langley anti-hate campaigner

Text from newspaper article about his efforts was used to link to suspect websites

Giants back in Langley hoping to continue winning streak

The G-Men defeated Royals in Victoria Saturday, the second triumph of the week over the same team.

Vancouver concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Most Read