A large police presence in downtown Hamilton today where protesters were countering other protesters. From the Hamilton Riot Police, mounted and action units and other out of town officers from Waterloo and Toronto to ensure public safety, police were in position to block an anti-fascist group from going down Locke street today.
It was a different sight than the one 3 weeks ago when Locke was struck by rioters who called themselves “The Ungovernables”. They caused over $100,000 worth of damage on their vandalism spree. Police had no advanced knowledge of that protest and shops were hit with rocks and bricks.
An anti-fascist group was trying to get to Locke Street to protest another group of marchers who say they were standing in solidarity with the businesses impacted by the riots three weeks ago.
It all started because a group calling themselves “The Patriots” planned a rally to come down to Locke and show their support for the local businesses that were vandalized. But a group calling themselves anti-fascist wanted to stop the patriots rally because they say The Patriots are racist, white supremacists.
Tension ran high as protesters were trying to by pass police to get to Locke Street.
Another group, calling themselves anti-fascists say they will not let another group spread their hate in Hamilton.
But the anti-fascists grew increasingly angry with police as they kept blocking access to Locke Street.
The anti-fascists wanted to stop The Patriots from marching down Locke Street. The Patriots say they did nothing wrong and that they are not racist.
Patriot group members say they fight for freedom of speech, stricter immigration policies, and stopping Sharia law in Canada. which is religious law forming part of Islam.
The Patriots say they walked peacefully along Locke Street and stopped at Doughnut Monster to buy coffee and doughnuts.
The anti-fascists say they are not buying The Patriot’s support towards the businesses.
The anti-fascists say they are wearing masks to protect their identity from The Patriots in fear of retaliation.
It is unclear if any of the protesters today were involved in the riot on Locke three weeks ago. Police say in the case of all of the vandalism here in the past no arrests have been made.
Hamilton police say they have been planning their coordinated response for a week now. To make sure nothing got out of hand, and that everyone was safe.