Businesses on Locke Street breathe a sigh of relief as a demonstration that could have led to clashes between two groups from the ideological right and the opposing left went without any notable incident.
The police made their presence felt at the Victoria Park, Locke Street, and the environ standing in front of some businesses and keeping watchful eye on the two groups.
A group called “Patriots for Walk On Locke” announced their intention to walk the streets in sympathy with businesses vandalized on Locke Street a few weeks back.
Another group, “Hamilton Against Fascism” joined by some union representatives, and the public mounted a counter protest.
Both groups made their arguments while the police stood by to forestall any physical confrontation.
“We just want to send a strong message to the Hamilton community that we stand with every one,” says Yasmeen Mirza, a representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, CUPE, and a member of the Muslim Association of Hamilton.
“CUPE stands for everyone, protects everyone, so is the Muslim Association of Hamilton.
“We are here to protect all the people that live in this city, so there is no room for hate in Hamilton.”
Yasmeen Mirza has been living in Hamilton for over 40 years.
“Hamilton is my home, is the home of my children. We will protect and do everything we can for the city of Hamilton and we will stand together.”
“We have such a diverse group in Hamilton, we have all nationalities, people from all backgrounds and all walks of life,” said Yasmeen Mirza.
“It does not matter what the beliefs are, or their sexual orientation, they have the right to believe in whatever they want, our right is to stand together and protect each other.”
Rob Noble, who described himself as a patriot was at the protest march carrying a Canadian flag. He came specifically to not only support the walk, but also vent on some issues he cared about.
The Victoria Park protest was not just about the incident that happened on Locke Street a few weeks back when some businesses were vandalized and their front windows shattered, but it was an opportunity for ideological beliefs to be vented.
Rob Noble was not happy with the “Anti-Fascist” or the “Antifa” group. He condemned the vandalism, which he attributed to members of the group. The Anarchist group in Hamilton had on Facebook dissociated its members from the vandalism, while supporting those who vandalized the properties.
Rob Noble expressed displeasure on various national issues. “Our federal government had recent changes to Service Canada – ridiculous.”
He gave as an example the government directive on the usage of gender pronouns, Mr., and Mrs. “We are just saying that is absurd.”
“We re also talking about changes to the citizenship guide, removing FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and honoured killing.”
He is not happy with the private member’s motion – M103 in the parliament.
“We are basically worried about these negatively developing changes.”
He said it is ridiculous for someone like him to be labeled a racist.
“I believe we are invigorating the values of the Canadian society,” he noted.
“To give you an example, if you disagree with the changes in the citizenship guide, people will just often call you a racist, but that is not even a racial issue,” said Rob Noble.
A pamphlet circulated at the rally by those against the march of the “Patriots for Walk On Locke” states “fascists will have no save haven in Hamilton.”
The pamphlet notes “We all see through this cynical attempt by the fash (sic) to position themselves as respectable and community-minded, and we aren’t going to let it go unchecked.”
The Hamilton Police posted on twitter that there were no injuries or arrests at the rally.
A church located on Locke Street welcomed visitors to Locke Street with a message of peace and love.