Photos: Hundreds turn out at anti-racism rally in Richmond

'Street patrol' group Soldiers of Odin asked to leave event at Brighouse Canada Line station after brief altercation

Around 200 people turned out for another anti-racism rally in Richmond on Sunday.

The protest at the Brighouse Canada Line station, led by Richmond resident Edward Liu, was the third in the last few weeks, sparked each time by the distribution of anti-immigrant flyers in the city, mainly in the Steveston area.

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Sunday’s protest was largely positive, but it was marred slightly by the appearance of a small group of men belonging to the Soldiers of Odin, a citizen-based “street patrol” organization, with connections to anti-immigration movements in Finland.

Although claiming not to be racist and pledging support for everyone, irrespective of race – the three “soldiers” held signs stating “Stand And Fight Against Hate” – the three men were clearly not wanted at the rally.

And, after a few words were exchanged, the men departed peacefully before giving interviews to waiting members of the media further down No. 3 Road.

Earlier, on Friday, a rally was held, in concert, by 17 church groups within the city at the Richmond Cultural Centre.

The flyers that fueled the protests targeted Chinese immigrants, accusing them of many ills in the community, not least driving up house prices.

One even cited an “alt-right” website, linked to the white nationalist movement in the U.S.

-Photos by Gord Goble/Special to the News

 

Another two rallies against racism and for racial harmony are set — one this Friday at noon at the Brighouse public library, the other Sunday at the Brighouse Canada Line station.

The first rally will be held in concert by 17 church groups within the city.

“We are deeply concerned about the divisiveness behind these flyers but know that they don’t represent the majority of the people in Richmond,” said organizer Rev. Victor Kim, Richmond Presbyterian Church.

The rallies are in response to two racist and anti-immigration flyers that target Chinese immigrants for driving up housing prices. One cited an “alt-right” website, linked to the white nationalist movement in the U.S.

Rally organizer Edward Liu stated the second rally is open to all, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds.

“We firmly believe that xenophobic and discriminatory sentiments have no place in Canada. Canada became the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as a national policy back in 1971.  Richmond has been a multicultural community for many decades. First Nations, Europeans, Japanese and Chinese were all pioneers and forefathers in this city’s history. We are proud of the cultural richness of our heritage which has made Richmond a very special place,” said Liu.

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