Discontent City made a show of strength, but its defences haven’t been required yet.
An emergency rally in response to threats drew several hundred people and a heavy police presence downtown, but Soldiers of Odin Vancouver Island did not show up at the homeless camp Sunday afternoon and later took credit for a hoax.
Discontent City and Alliance Against Displacement had organized the rally in response to threats made via posts on the Soldiers of Odin Vancouver Island Facebook page on Friday.
Ivan Drury of Alliance Against Displacement said Discontent City would “hold our ground until we know for sure they’re not coming.”
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Drury said if the Soldiers of Odin return to tent city next weekend, he’ll be back.
“And we’re going to bring a barbecue and maybe we can start to have poets and music and more speeches” to strengthen a political community “that is radical and resistant and refuses to back down.”
Drury said if people came to try to break up the camp, tent city would be defended, “not by force, but because our force is one that is universal and powerful and has to do with a vision of complete change that leads to a world without inequality, without misogyny, without racism, without poor people and without rich people.”
At Sunday’s rally, there was drumming and speeches in front of the homeless camp and anti-Discontent City sentiment on the opposite side of Front street, with RCMP in the middle. Discontent City and its supporters chanted “homes not hate” and “tax the rich to house the poor, social housing now.” On the other side, people chanted “hey hey, ho ho, tent city has got to go” and called for camp residents to “get a job.”
Front Street was closed to traffic for about two hours.
Afterward, a video was posted on Facebook of Conrad Peach, president of Soldiers of Odin Vancouver Island, saying people were looking for “invisible fascists” who don’t exist.
“Did you really think we were coming? You’ve been trolled,” he said.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Coverage of Soldiers of Odin march wasn’t critical enough
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Citizens have right to protest tent city however they wish