CRITICS SAY CALLING OTTAWA PROTESTS 'PEACEFUL' DOWNPLAYS NON-VIOLENT DANGERS

Jan 31, 2022

By Jeremy Logan

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So far there have been no arrests related to incidents of physical violence during the anti-vaccine mandate demonstration on Parliament Hill, prompting many media reports to describe the protests as “peaceful.”

But activists and academics say that’s an inaccurate characterization, undermining the fear, damage and disruption caused by the multi-day rally.

Fareed Khan, the founder of Canadians United Against Hate, describes the protests as a threat to political stability and “peace-loving” Canadians, noting the demonstrations don’t have to come to blows to jeopardize public safety.

He says some protesters have refused to wear masks in indoor venues, and suggests the mass gathering could become a COVID-19 “superspreader event” that would have deadly consequences far beyond those who attended it.

Khan adds the public response to Saturday and Sunday’s demonstrations exposes a racist double standard in civil resistance, suggesting protests advocating for the rights of those who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour have faced much harsher opposition for causing far less disruption.

He says the reaction “smacks of racism and white privilege,” suggesting if a Muslim, brown or Indigenous person organized an event calling for unseating the government, “security forces would have been down on them like a bag of hammers.”

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