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Alberta Yellow Vest movement clashes with counter protestors
Published Saturday, March 16, 2019 6:21PM MDT
A group of Edmonton demonstrators are protesting inaction by the Yellow Vests to condemn extreme or hateful views within its group.
This weekend, the Yellow Vests protest at the Alberta legislature was met by a counter rally, inspired by the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque massacre.
“What happened in New Zealand was because somebody was radicalized and was pushed and broke,” said counter protestor David Williamson.
“The Yellow Vest movement might not be advocating violence, the Yellow Vest movement might not be saying ‘shoot people,’ but there are fringe elements that are welcome.”
Fifty people were killed, and another 36 people hospitalized, by suspect shooter Brenton Harrison Tarrant on Friday. Tarrant had previously posted an anti-immigrant manifesto, and, during a live broadcast of the killings, appeared to make a hand sign associated with white nationalists.
Williamson’s fellow counter protestors told CTV News they wanted to speak out against radical organizations that have infiltrated the Yellow Vest movement.
“We have seen openly racist, homophobic, transphobic things happen here,” said counter protestor Dylan Michaels said.
“We decided to jump on it so we could possibly open a conversation.”
“(The Yellow Vests) want to paint a picture that it’s all about pipelines and jobs, and that’s not true at all,” Williamson added.
The Yellow Vests have repeatedly denied affiliation with hateful or racist organizations. On Saturday, member Tom Taylor told CTV News, “That’s nobody here in my group.”
“There’s extremists throughout Canada in all walks of life. There’s people that are extreme to one extent or another.”
He added, “I’m open to talking about anything you would like to talk about.”
The group has routinely met on the government grounds to demand changes to the carbon tax, abolishment of Bill C-69 and what it describes as stricter immigration rules.
Although one person was arrested during the Saturday event in Edmonton, police said it due to an unrelated matter.
The crowd stayed for several hours before dispersing in the afternoon.
With files from Timm Bruch