After participating in the United We Roll/Yellow Vest Convoy to Ottawa, Alberta resident Pat King and Saskatchewan resident Jay Riedel decided to embark on a tour they’ve called Rollin’ With Pat & Jay. Traveling across the country, they claim to “educate” Canadians on various issues they find important, however these “town halls” also include UN conspiracies, anti-refugee sentiments, and far-right ideas.
Riedel was the organizer of the Estevan Yellow Vests, although it’s unclear if he is currently. Both are members of the main Yellow Vests Canada page on Facebook. Much of the content shared on their personal and Rollin’ feeds is similar to what is found on various YVC pages and groups.
They’re currently traveling through Ontario, and have been met with some resistance. A largely community based effort was made to notify the legions (and other venues) at which they had planned their town halls. Yellow Vests Canada Exposed has tracked this activity, but has not made any active attempts to stop these town halls from going ahead as planned.
Both legions where the duo had planned to appear - Finch and Cornwall - canceled their reservation. King had previously stated this was due to the fact that they had not paid for the space, and he and Riedel both advised that when you pay for the legion’s space, you are entitled to “say whatever you want.”
Here’s Pat King and Jay Riedel claiming that if they pay for the legion, they’re entitled to talk about whatever they want, and that the reason Arnprior’s legion canceled was because they didn’t pay.
/1#yellowvestscanada #cdnpoli #onpoli
cc: @RoyalCdnLegion pic.twitter.com/HCJs3937yd— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) April 22, 2019
On April 25, 2019 King and Riedel spoke with Robyn Miller of CBC Ottawa for a lengthy interview, which they live streamed themselves to Facebook prior to the piece being published. (Source: https://bit.ly/2UWJOFg) Numerous false and misleading claims were made to the CBC while King and Riedel remained largely unchallenged. We feel it’s important to provide accurate information, and context.
Note: The intent of this piece is to challenge just some of the false claims made during the interview, which was live streamed by King and Riedel, and not to debunk or discredit the article published by the CBC.
King claimed that the accusations of xenophobia and racism are “false accusations,” claiming the truth is “absolutely the contrary” and citing his girlfriend, who has African-Canadian children. Both are adamant that this is not true.
However, multiple posts illustrating xenophobic views have been documented from both of their personal social media pages, as well as their Rollin’ With Pat and Jay Facebook page.
Claim #1 - Racism and xenophobia are “false accusations
Claim #2 - Our ancestors were vetted, while present day immigrants and refugees were no/open borders
King advised CBC that the ancestors of Canadians were vetted and that currently, immigrants and refugees are not.
The historical reality is that immigration was largely unrestricted (except for Chinese people who had to pay the head tax and South Asian people who were barred from landing due to “continuous journey” regulations) until 1919, when the amended Immigration Act imposed restrictions or exclusions on more groups, mostly those involved in the first World War.
Meanwhile, the current process to vet immigrants and refugees is extensive, based on merit, and well-documented. When an individual presents at the border, they are entered into the legal process to apply for official refugee status, which involves vetting. If they are found to not meet the criteria, that individual is deported. Our immigration system even impresses people like Donald Trump, who stated that the US should have a system more like Canada’s immigration process.
At the end of their live feed, the CBC producer advised them that some of their information is incorrect and suggested they speak with individuals responsible for ensuring appropriate vetting of newcomers. King and Riedel responded enthusiastically.
Claim #3 - Drama over King’s girlfriend’s job loss
When a social media user located in Arnprior saw King and Riedel were coming to their town to host an event, they reached out to the various legions they were planning on appearing at. YVCE amplified this message on Twitter, and King and Riedel’s followers soon started to send this individual messages demanding they cease their activity. Including one from Christy Marie Scheff, King’s girlfriend, who he states he met “because of the convoy” to CBC. The recipient confirmed that after the message was sent, Scheff blocked them from further contact.
YVCE shared this message, along with screenshots from Scheff’s Facebook profile. These posts included inflammatory and bigoted remarks about Muslims, and UN conspiracy theories.
Pat King’s girlfriend is threatening people who try and have venues cancel their dumb town halls.
Thought these clowns were defenders of free expression? pic.twitter.com/0LXcM7224C— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) April 22, 2019
An email was sent to Scheff’s employer by another social media user, advising them of the content their employee had posted online, and demanding action on their part. Scheff was fired, as confirmed in Facebook messages between the individual and the employer, however the cause was not specifically confirmed.
During the interview with CBC, King claims he spoke to person who sent the emails, as he had their telephone number and email address. We confirmed with the individual who sent the email that while he has received some calls from strange numbers lately, he did not speak with King, or Riedel. King also claimed that the Ontario Provincial Police is investigating the matter, yet the individual has not been contacted by authorities.
Scheff was allegedly advised her employment was terminated due to “attendance issues,” as told by King to the CBC producer after the interview had concluded.
Claim #4 - “All are welcome”
Both Riedel and King tell CBC that all are welcome to their events. In Pembroke, they identified who they believed to be a “troll” - an individual no one knew, who they claim was on their phone the entire time.
The comments directed toward this person in the live feed comments were not welcoming, and a few were outright threatening, with one referencing a taser (King and Riedel showed a stun baton in a previous live feed, claiming “if anyone starts any trouble, this is what you’re going to see.” source: https://bit.ly/2Pypbce timestamp: 2 min, 15 sec)
It is clear that anyone who may disagree with them may be subject to real-time online harassment, and have their photo shown to their followers. These are intimidation and harassment tactics, and not indicative of a healthy and open dialogue. Note: followers of King and Riedel refer to themselves often as “the kids,” and in turn, to King and Riedel as “dad/s.”
Claim #5 - Radicals are “vetted and kicked out”
In the interview with CBC both King and Riedel claim that radicals are “vetted and kicked out.” They aren’t clear if they are referring to Yellow Vests Canada or their own following, but both are demonstrably false, as heavily documented by YVCE. Riedel himself has made radical posts on social media.
The pair’s own views are radical. In addition to an average of 3 live feeds a day, lasting from an hour or more in length, they also either stream these town halls on Facebook live, or upload them to their YouTube channel. YVCE has previously tweeted the content of a town hall, filmed in Drayton Valley, AB. The event goes into detail about their experience with United We Roll, but also delves into far-right ideologies and conspiracy theories, as well as whitewashing problematic associations:
I noticed this today, and realized we’ve been neglecting Pat King and Jay Riedel, and their “town halls” across SK and AB (so far.) /1#YellowVestsCanada #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/BwwtLBW1dd— Yellow Vests Canada Exposed (@VestsCanada) March 31, 2019
One of the more troubling claims of recent town halls is their propagation of the Rothschild global banking conspiracy, referring to them as an “ethnic group” that controls the World Bank, and claiming they are direct descendants of Hitler:
This is like south park.
Pat: Do you know who owns the federal reserve?
audience: China? nuh-uh. India? nope. The UN? nope. OK who? Hang on I forget I have to check my copy of The Protocols..
That's right, the Rothchilds, who are direct descendants of Adolph Hitler @VestsCanada pic.twitter.com/PNyoOsItp2— Will Banks (@willybrotten) April 24, 2019
At the Drayton Valley town hall King told the crowd that there is a “flooding of refugees,” which will “abuse and destabilize our banking system,” advising that this is “intentional by the UN, to bankrupt Canada” and to impose Agendas 21 and 23, and a “one world government.” King went on to state that “there is a bigger, darker entity trying to overthrow the world.”
They have hinted that this entity is the spooky RoThScHiLdS family. It's 2019 and the Rothschilds still get blamed for everything, from funding Hitler, to the creation of Israel, to controlling the weather.
The Rothschilds family were a real familybut have been the victim of anti-semitic propaganda for quite some time. The Rothschilds did not benefit from the second world war, like most Jews, they had their assets seized by the Nazis. When did the first rumor start of the evil Rothschilds? In Nazi Germany where a movie called "Die Rothschilds Aktien auf Waterloo" talked about how Nathan Rothschilds had manipulated the market.
He didn't, but that is the story the Nazis told their supporters.
The Rothschilds don't own the Bank of Canada, the Canadian government does. In fact, because the government owned the bank and it could only lend to the federal government. This changed in the Basel Committee solution.
These are things that are well documented but Pat and Jay do not know the history of their own country, and would rather get information from people like Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck, who lies for money.
The Rothschilds opened their own banks and they do business pretty openly. You can do a simple search to find them online.
These people don't deserve any level of serious consideration
Bernier with Georges Massaad
Certainly there are the dog whistles regarding multiculturalism, immigration, and identity politics that Bernier is happy to repeat online and on the stump. There is also some evidence that indicates that some PPC riding associations know that at least some of their supporters hold extremist views and that those members are simply asked to keep those views concealed:
A recent article in the Canadian edition of the Huffington Post goes even further claiming that the PPC is actively courting votes from extremists groups including one mentioned frequently on this blog:The Canadian Combat Coalition, also known as C3, is a self-described group of "patriots concerned with Canada's future." It has downplayed suggestions it endorses "any racist or hate ideologies," despite Islamophobic and anti-immigrant messages dominating its online community and having members who are known to show up at anti-Islam rallies. "Let's take their votes, but no publicized cross endorsement of any kind," reads a message sent in February by national co-ordinator Caleb Voskamp in a Facebook group chat for PPC executives and organizers.On the one hand courting the likes of the Canadian Combat Coalition seems rather futile given the actual membership consists mainly of a very small group of people (mainly in Ontario) who would have difficulty packing an elevator. My guess is that the CCC is simply representative of a number of extremists groups -- Proud Boys, Nouns of Odin, Northern Guard, etc -- whom the PPC may be actively trying to get support from, though even if this is the case the number of actual votes the PPC would receive from actual members, even if every member voted for a PPC candidate, would be minuscule.
More likely, the PPC is appealing to the people who, while not necessarily members of these groups, are active online as supporters. Those numbers, though still relatively small when compared to the rest of the potential electorate, are considerably larger than the core membership. These individuals are present on the social media sites of these hate groups and have become radicalized by the rhetoric of online extremism.
I present this individual as a potentially typical example of such a supporter, however I do so with a significant caveat that will become apparent later on in the article:Read more »
Sears answers media questions outside court, flanked by skinheads and other supporters. April 26, 2019 (Photo submitted by an ARC reader.)Your Ward News' Editor in Chief, James Sears, and Publisher, LeRoy St. Germaine, were found guilty in January of willfully promoting hatred against Jews and women under S319(2) of the criminal code. In the lead-up to today's hearing, Sears likened himself to Christ and seemed to relish the idea of being led away in cuffs on Greek Orthodox Good Friday. He also claimed he would (checks notes) bring his "posse of black folks" with him, and would attempt to "reason with the Judge."
Spoiler: no "posse" was in attendance, and certainly no successful "reasoning" occurred.
Crown Attorney Erica Whitford presented thorough submissions relying on extensive research of existing case law that referenced many, if not all, hate crimes cases that have resulted in a custodial sentence in Canada. She called for the maximum sentence of 6 months per count, for a total of 1 year, to be served consecutively. In addition, she asked for 3 years probation, with strict conditions that would prohibit Sears from publishing within that period. The sentence, she argued, must serve both as a denunciation of the hate speech that occurred, as well as a deterrent for future incidents of said hate speech. CP24 reported that she also referenced multiple victim and community impact statements that read, in part:
"By delivering Your Ward News to our door, they were saying there was nowhere to feel safe." "Hate speech strikes at the heart of Canadian values. The glorification of violence against women made them feel vulnerable, retraumatized some, and tended to hurt the cause of equality overall."
Sears' attorney, Dean Embry, conceded that Your Ward News did devolve into hate speech, and called it "repugnant," however, he argued that the publication was not "created with the sole purpose of spreading genocidal thought," and, amazingly, insisted that the Crown had failed to prove that YWN had, in fact, caused any actual harm. According to reports, he insisted that the total sentence should be no more than 2-4 months called for a four-month conditional sentence and added that the Judge cannot sentence based on "theoretical harm." He also claimed that barring Sears from publishing anything for 3 years was too broad.
The proceedings started to go off the rails when Sears was given the opportunity to speak. He had prepared a 62-page "allocution," that he claimed would take at least an hour to deliver. Judge Blouin instructed him, repeatedly, to stick to issues pertaining only to sentencing, however, he still apparently managed to take up 20 minutes of the court's time. Here's a sampling of what he said:
CTV quotes Sears as saying, "I'm approached on a regular basis by angry men, and sometimes women, that Your Ward News gave them a voice when no one else would. Several men have told me that, because of our publication, they did not commit violence."
He also apparently brought a blind man to court who he presented before the Judge as an example of someone who was "saved" from committing an act of violence against the doctor who blinded him. YWN, he claimed, gave this man a "release valve" for his rage and he now spends his time handing out copies of the publication on street corners.
Perhaps most interestingly, Sears thanked a woman named "Grace," who is supposedly one of his publication's strongest financial backers. He said she flew in from Japan to be present at the sentencing.
UPDATE 1: We have confirmed that "Grace" from Japan is, in fact, Holocaust denier Grace Eki-Oyama, who, at one point, vacationed with Paul Fromm in Cuba.
But wait! There's more:
After calling the Crown racist, he, according to CTV, tried to reason with the Judge, stating that "We're just trying to open a discussion. His Honour cannot take one side of a religious debate or one side of a political debate."
He then goes on to contradict himself and engage in his trademarked grandstanding:
Despite not having his promised "posse" with him, media have reported that about 15 supporters of the publication were in attendance. So far, ARC has identified the usual suspects, including Paul Fromm, Bahman Yazdanfar, Lawrence McCurry, Arthur Smitherman, and the woman we previously identified as a long-time court attender, dating back to the Zundel trials. We are working to identify some others, and expect to have an updated list soon.
Judge Blouin is taking a month to review the sentencing submissions, including the victim impact statements, which apparently were only delivered to him last night. Sears is expected to be sentenced on May 31st.
St. Germaine has a longer reprieve as the court needs to wait for the submission of his pre-sentencing report. (We assume the press is referring to the Gladue Report). St. Germaine's sentencing is scheduled for July 15th.
Your Ward News contributor, Lawrence McCurry, uploaded a video of yesterday's media scrum with James Sears and his friend Jonathan, who is the blind man Sears claims his paper "saved" from committing an act of violence. For the sake of transparency, I'll make clear that I edited out the beginning where McCurry tries to get Warren Kinsella and Bernie Farber to comment. He claims they were not present to see justice done, but to "represent the globalist position and ideology to the controlled corporate media who have not been honest in the way they have reported on this story from the very start." He then goes on to show a media clip used by a mainstream news outlet to illustrate how the press manipulates things. The bulk of his video, however, is unedited footage of Sears' media scrum, which is what I've included here. Sears sticks to his talking points from his "allocution" about YWN being a release valve, that he is a law-abiding citizen who was trying to open a discussion, and then digs in to his plans for a constitutional challenge over his conviction and pending sentence. Paul Fromm chimes in and compares Sears to James Joyce! I'll let the rest speak for itself, however, I will add a WARNING that there is some graphic language regarding rape:
STAND UP TO RACISM LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO ‘Keep Racism Out of the Elections’ AND oppose fascist ‘Tommy Robinson’
As fascist “Tommy Robinson” (real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon) announces tonight that he will be standing in the upcoming Euro Elections that run between 23 to 26 May, Stand Up To Racism is launching a major campaign to stop him and to ‘Keep Racism Out of the Election’. … Read the rest
A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.ASYLUM, MIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP ASYLUM AND MIGRANT RIGHTS
15 April: A BBC Newsnight investigation uncovers 90 cases in which Home Officials have been wrongly classified child asylum seekers as adults, denying them the support they are legally owed. (BBC Newsnight, 15 April 2019)
16 April: The court of appeal rules that the Home Office’s use of a terrorism-related paragraph of immigration law is ‘legally flawed’, and that the department is ‘too ready to find dishonesty’ in applications from ‘highly skilled migrants’. Paragraph 322(5) was used between 2015 and 2018 to force at least 300 people to leave the UK because they made legal amendments to their tax records. (Guardian, 16 April 2019; Independent, 16 April 2019)
20 April: Figures from Women’s Aid show that a third of more than 2,500 women who contacted domestic abuse services in 2017-2018 had no recourse to public funds, denying them access to the support and refuge space that would enable them to leave their abusive partners. Other organisations say the real numbers are probably much higher. (Independent, 20 April 2019)
22 April: Under a new immigration agreement between the Irish government and the International Transport Workers’ Federation, fisheries workers not in the European Economic Area will no longer be tied to employers and will be able to leave a boat to find other work without fear of deportation. The government agreed to change its permit scheme to ward off litigation for facilitating modern slavery. (Guardian, 22 April 2019)BORDERS AND INTERNAL CONTROLS
4 April: Two teenage migrants aged 15 and 16, who are accused of ‘terrorist activity’ in Malta for hijacking a commercial vessel, are unlawfully held in the main adults prison in Paola, against the magistrate’s orders for their safety and well-being to be ensured. (Times of Malta, 4 April 2019)
4 April: The head of security for the Pas-de-Calais region in France says that tightened border patrols along the northern French coast are responsible for declining numbers of migrants crossing the Channel from France to Britain. 39 vessels carried 286 people between October and December, compared with 23 carrying 200 people between January and March. (RT, 5 April 2019)
5 April: Police in Bosnia and Herzegovina step up security measures around bus and train stations to prevent undocumented migrants from reaching reception centres in Bihać, Cazin and Velika Kladuša in the Una-Sana canton, and from crossing into Croatia. (Total Croatia News, 5 April 2019; Sarajevo Times, 5 April 2019)
6 April: For a third day, Greek riot police use tear gas against hundreds of protesting migrants gathered near the Diavata refugee camp, with some claiming that they hope the northern Greek border will open to allow them to join a ‘caravan of hope’ into other European countries. (Independent, 6 April 2019)
7 April: The German-flagged NGO rescue ship Alan Kurdi, which rescued over 60 migrants off the Libyan coast, calls for urgent humanitarian assistance after Italy and Malta refuse to provide safe port. The ship’s operations management reports water and food shortages. (Deutsche Welle, 7 April 2019; Independent, 9 April 2019)
9 April: The UN evacuates 152 refugees from a detention centre in south Tripoli, while thousands in other detention centres across Libya fear that they will be abandoned and endangered amid intense fighting between rival groups in the country. In Europe, German politicians warn that more refugees may be forced to come to Europe as a result of the conflict. (Info Migrants, 10 April 2019; Independent, 12 April 2019)
10 April: RyanAir refuses, without explanation, to allow Iyad el-Baghdadi, a Palestinian writer with refugee status in Norway, to board a flight from Berlin to Dublin. After el-Baghdadi publicises the incident on Twitter, the airline swiftly apologises. (Independent, 10 April 2019)
14 April: Information obtained by the Guardian reveals that in 2018 registrars sent over 2,800 reports to the Home Office of potential sham marriages, a 40 per cent rise since 2014. Only 56 per cent of these were deemed worthy of investigation, and migrant couples and their lawyers have reported being subjected to ‘insulting’ checks, delayed nuptials, and even interrupted wedding ceremonies. (Guardian, 14 April 2019)
15 April: Prosecutors in Sicily place Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte, deputy prime ministers Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio, and Italy’s minister of infrastructure, Danilo Toninelli, under investigation for false imprisonment in the Sea Watch 3 case in which 47 migrants were refused permission to leave the rescue vessel in January 2019. (Guardian, 15 April 2019)
18 April: The Italian military and defence ministries accuse interior minister Matteo Salvini of crossing a ‘red line’ and implying ‘improper pressure’ as he sends letters to the heads of the navy ordering them to close ports to migrants. (Guardian, 18 April 2019)RECEPTION AND DETENTION
9 April: A 28-year-old undocumented Gambian migrant named Gaye Demba, who had lived for years in the former Olympic village in Turin, commits suicide at a reception centre run by the Diocese of Turin. (Info Migrants, 9 April 2019)
11 April: In the Italian town of Calolziocorte, Lombardy, home to just twenty asylum seekers, municipal authorities approve an urban plan stating that ‘welcome centres for migrants must not be located within 150 metres of schools’. Mayor Marco Ghezzi (The League), says that the preventative measures is necessary as welcome centres could be havens for drug dealing. (Guardian, 12 April 2019)
15 April: People detained in Brook House detention centre, which is run by G4S, protest their indefinite detention and the prison-like conditions they endure. Two serious self-harm attempts occur, and many others threaten self-harm. (The London Economic, 16 April 2019)
16 April: In an unannounced inspection of Colnbrook detention centre, the inspectorate of prisons finds a series of failings, including conditions considered ‘austere for most prisons’ and a threefold rise in self-harm. The watchdog also found that detained people had been held at the centre for an average of 75 days. Read the report here. (Guardian, 16 April 2019)
19 April: Unpublished official figures obtained by Freedom from Torture show that the number of people on suicide watch in immigration detention centres rose by 5 per cent to 541 in 2018, renewing concerns that the Home Office is not adhering to the Adult at Risk policy introduced in 2016. (BuzzFeed, 19 April 2019)CITIZENSHIP AND STATUS
4 April: The Guardian reveals that in 2018 the Home Office rejected 72 per cent of fee waiver requests for immigration and nationality applications made by people who say they are destitute. (Guardian, 4 April 2019)
4 April: Home Office data obtained by Citizens UK shows that the department is making a profit of £24 million a year from charges for children to register as British citizens. The chief inspector of borders and immigrations calls for a full review into the impact of the fees, while charities sign an open letter calling for an end to ‘the practice of profiteering from immigration and citizenship applications’. (Guardian, 4 April 2019; Guardian, 4 April 2019; Independent, 5 April 2019)
12 April: The French company Sopra Steria, awarded a £91 million contract by the Home Office to ‘streamline’ applications for visas or settlement from within the UK, leaves dozens of people waiting outside its Croydon centre in the cold after cancelling their appointments. Many demand refunds after having travelled miles. (Independent, 12 April 2019)
15 April: Shamima Begum receives legal aid to appeal the Home Office’s decision to strip her of British citizenship. (BBC News, 15 April 2019)DEPORTATIONS
3 April: A dossier by the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) shows that migrant sex workers are increasingly arrested and targeted for deportation and that racist attacks against them have increased since the Brexit vote. Read the dossier here. (Independent, 3 April 2019)
11 April: An immigration officer is jailed after admitting to trying to extort £2,500 from a man threatened with deportation last year. She told him that she had ‘pulled strings’ to secure his release from Colnbrook immigration removal centre and that any outstanding deportation order would be cancelled if he paid up. (Independent, 11 April 2019)
12 April: Figures obtained by the Independent reveal that between January 2015 and September 2018, over 700 people who sought asylum in the UK as children have been deported as adults to countries deemed dangerous to visit by the government, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan. (Independent, 12 April 2019)
12 April: For the second time in a week, a judge halts the deportation of Habib Bazaboko, a man who has lived in the UK since he was 11, to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), citing a new report about the dangers of returning people to the country. (Guardian, 12 April 2019).
15 April: 15 LGBT Syrian refugees launch a legal challenge accusing the Home Office of abandoning them to a life of homophobic discrimination in Turkey, despite promising them speedy asylum in the UK on a special refugee resettlement scheme. (Guardian, 15 April 2019)CRIMES OF SOLIDARITY
3 April: Two Icelandic anti-deportation activists, Jórunn Edda Helgadóttir and Ragnheiður Freyja Kristínardóttir, who in May 2016 attempted to ground a flight from Keflavík Airport which was carrying a man who was being unjustly deported, are given two years on probation by the District Attorney in Reykjavík. (Ad Standa Upp, 3 April 2019)
18 April: The Global Legal Action Network files a petition at the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the prosecution in January 2016 of Salam Kamal-Aldeen, the founder of Team Humanity, for his rescue work in the Aegean Sea constitutes a violation of human rights law. (Court House News, 18 April 2019)ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR-RIGHT
5 April: German police say that the Christchurch mosque killer transferred money to the French wing of the far-right Generation Identity group in September 2017. (Stuff, 5 April 2019)
10 April: Targeted raids against far-right extremists take place in four German states (Brandenburg, Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin). Most raids target Inferno Cottbus ’99, affiliated to the football club Energie, whose members are suspected of involvement in robberies, violence, spreading Nazi symbols and are believed to have played a key role in organising riots in the eastern city of Chemnitz last summer. (Deutsche Welle, 10 April 2019; Guardian, 10 April 2019)
12 April: Athens city council, declaring itself an anti-fascist city, passes a resolution stating that the ‘municipality will not provide public spaces, venues and electoral booths for Golden Dawn’s pre-electoral gatherings while the Golden Dawn trial continue’. (Greek City Times, 12 April 2019)
14 April: Copenhagen police arrest 23 people after pitched battles break out following counter-protests against an anti-Islam demonstration held by Rasmus Paludan, founder of anti-immigrant party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), in the ethnically diverse Nørrebro neighbourhood. (Copenhagen Post, 15 April 2019)
15 April: A Paris court sentences the far-right activist Alain Soral in his absence to one year in jail for denying the Holocaust after being sued by four NGOs behalf of the government. (Quartz, 15 April 2019)
15 April: In Valencia, Spain, police arrest two activists and accuse them of ‘hate crime’ for their participation in a protest on 5 March against a bus carrying a message equating feminists with nazis, organised by far-right, ultra-Catholic group Hazte Oir. The group is claiming €17,000 damages against the two men arrested, saying they obscured the message on the bus. (El Diario, 18 April 2019)
16 April: Alt Right commentators as well AfD leader Alice Weidel use the Notre Dame fire in Paris to spread Islamophobic conspiracy theories, while the leading US alt-right figure Richard Spencer says that the fire would have ‘served a glorious purpose if it pushed the White man into action’.(Al Jazeera, 16 April 2019)
18 April: Facebook imposes a ban on several far-right organisations and their leaders, including the British National Party, the English Defence League, Britain First and the National Front. They will no longer be able to have a presence on any Facebook service. (BBC News, 18 April 2019)
18 April: The office of the federal German police says that hundreds of warrants for the arrests of far-right suspects remain outstanding. Most of them are for theft, fraud, verbal abuse or traffic offences. (Deutsche Welle, 18 April 2019)
20 April: In a report for his Institute for Global Change, the former Labour prime minister Tony Blair says that ‘attacks on diversity’ and the rise of the far-right is the result of the failures of ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘integration’. He also calls for the introduction of digital ID cards, an idea pushed and eventually dropped by New Labour. (Guardian, 20 April 2019)
21 April: Robbie Mullen, the former National Action member who exposed Jack Renshaw’s plan to murder local Labour MP Rosie Cooper with a machete, reveals that he has faced numerous death threats since whistleblowing. (Guardian, 21 April 2019)
23 April: A plaque ceremony and vigil takes places in Southall, London, to remember Blair Peach, a teacher and anti-racist activist who was killed by police in 1979 and Gurdip Singh Chaggar, an 18-year-old student who was killed in a racially-motivated attack in 1976. Find information about upcoming Southall 40 events here. (Aljazeera, 23 April 2019)ELECTORAL POLITICS
8 April: In Milan, Matteo Salvini launches a new extreme-right alliance (The League, Alternative for Germany, Danish People’ Party, Finns Party) to fight the European parliamentary elections in May. (Guardian, 8 April 2019)
8 April: The Spanish political monthly La Marea identifies lawyer and prominent VOX member José María Ruiz Puerta as the last president of the Spanish Nazi group CEDADE (dissolved in 1993) and deputy director of its journal. (La Marea, 8 April 2019)
14 April: The anti-immigrant Finns party win 17.5 per cent of the vote in the general election and are now the second largest party in the Finnish parliament. The Social Democrats, which won by the tiniest of margins, do not rule out a coalition with the Finns Party and say discussions will focus on ‘values’. (Guardian, 14 April 2019)
16 April: A Channel 4 investigation shows that in 2016 the pro-Brexit Leave.EU campaign staged photographs that purported to show migrants attacking women in London and faked a viral video that purported to show how easily migrants can enter Britain. Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson calls for a judicial inquiry into the campaign’s activities during the referendum. (Channel 4 News, 16 April 2019; Guardian, 17 April 2019)
17 April: In the run up to the Spanish general election on 28 April, the electoral commission bans the Vox party from participating in a five party televised debate organised by the private media company Atresmedia, stating that the far-right party’s inclusion was not ‘proportional’ under electoral law, as it does not hold any seats in the national parliament. (BBC News, 17 April 2019)
19 April: Antonella Bundu becomes the first black woman to run for mayor of a large Italian city, announcing her candidacy in Florence for a coalition of radical-left parties. (Guardian, 19 April 2019)POLICE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
4 April: The inquest into the death of 45-year-old Annabella Landsberg in HMP Peterborough in September 2017 concludes that the conduct of prison, healthcare and custody staff contributed to her death. Landsberg, who was from Zimbabwe, suffered from diabetes and other illnesses which staff failed to recognise and provide care for. (Guardian, 4 April 2019; Inquest, 4 April 2019)
7 April: Violent incidents at Feltham young offenders institution (YOI) in west London over the weekend leave 20 staff injured, 13 of whom are hospitalised. Campaigners call for the closure of the facility, which has been heavily criticised by the Inspectorate of Prisons in annual reports over the years. (Guardian, 9 April 2019)
8 April: Magistrates find a police officer guilty of assault for grabbing a black man’s dreadlocks, punching him, and pulling him from a patrol car. In the build-up to the incident, caught on the officer’s camera, the officer accused the man of ‘playing the race card’ and being ‘anti-police’. (Nottingham Post, 8 April 2019)
10 April: New figures published by Inquest show that the Ministry of Justice spent £4.2 million representing prison officers but only £92,000 in legal aid for bereaved families at inquest hearings into deaths in prison during 2017-2018. (Guardian, 10 April 2019)
12 April: Police officers who pushed a 15-year-old black boy off his bike, causing him severe injuries including bruising on the brain, and then wrongfully arrested him on suspicion of theft, are cleared of wrongdoing by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). (My London, 12 April 2019)
14 April: Just two weeks after the Home Secretary gave police greater Section 60 stop and search powers, Stopwatch reports that is receiving information that police are abusing the power, and warns that it is ‘damaging community relations’. (Guardian, 14 April 2019)
16 April: West Midlands Police figures for 2018 to 2019 show that black people in the West Midlands are 13 times and Asian people 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched under section 60 powers than white people. (Express and Star, 17 April 2019)
16 April: The European Court of Human Rights rules that Roma are subjected to institutionalised racism and police brutality in Romania, in a case involving a police raid on a Roma home involving 85 officers, which the Court found was motivated solely by the family’s ethnicity and amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. (European Roma Rights Centre, 17 April 2019)
18 April: Through music, speeches, poetry and a memorial walk, Leeds marks fifty years since the death of David Oluwale, whose body was pulled from the River Aire in 1969 after a sustained campaign by two police officers, who were convicted two years later for a series of assaults on Oluwale. (Leeds Live, 18 April 2019)
19 April: Two police officers involved in the death of Sheku Bayoh under police restraint in Kirkcaldy, Fife in 2015 are granted permission to retire on medical grounds, both having been on long-term sick leave since Bayoh’s death. The Bayoh family’s lawyer criticises the decision, which means that the officers cannot be subject to potential misconduct hearings or disciplinary action. (BBC News, 19 April 2019)
20 April: West Midlands police’s ethics committee raises concerns about the force’s £4.5 million project which will use a computer tool to predict which people are likely to reoffend. It warns that it might reinforce existing ‘ police bias’, for example, in its use of stop and search data. (Guardian, 20 April 2019)COUNTER-TERRORISM AND NATIONAL SECURITY
12 April: The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 comes into force, introducing several new counter-terrorism measures, including ones that will criminalise viewing terrorist propaganda online, entering ‘designated areas’ abroad, and making ‘reckless expressions’ of support for proscribed organisations. Humans rights and press freedom campaigners have raised concerns about the measures since they were proposed last year. (Independent, 12 April 2019; Guardian, 12 April 2019)DISCRIMINATION
11 April: Hours before he is due to perform, British rapper Stormzy pulls out of the Snowbombing festival in Mayrhofen, Austria, saying that his manager and friends who had travelled to the festival were racially profiled, targeted and aggressively handled by the festival’s security staff. (Guardian, 11 April 2019)EDUCATION
4 April: Around thirty students at Bristol University walk out of a lecture given by American academic Eric Kaufman at the Centre of Ethnicity and Citizenship, protesting that Kaufman’s work, particularly his recent book Whiteshift, promotes racism and white nationalism by explaining the rise of the far-right as the ‘white majority’ response to immigration and diversity. (Bristol Post, 5 April 2019)
15 April: More than a year after Greek minister of migration Yiannis Mouzalas and Education Minister Costas Gavroglou announced a Greek language programme for adult refugees, courses still have not started. The program has been shunted from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to the Education Ministry, to keep it in the hands of the state, but has since stalled. (Ekathimerini, 15 April 2019)MEDIA AND CULTURE
10 April: Research by Signal AI, which has created a database of reports from news, TV and radio outlets, finds that Islamist extremists are three times more likely than far-right extremists to be described as terrorists by the media. (Guardian, 10 April 2019)
12 April: Two French academics launch a petition demanding the removal of a mural from the French National Assembly which commemorates the abolition of slavery but depicts black people in a ‘humiliating and dehumanising’ way. (Guardian, 12 April 2019)
15 April: Research commissioned by BookTrust finds that between 2007 and 2017 fewer than 2 per cent of all children’s book authors and illustrators were from British BAME backgrounds. (Guardian, 15 April 2019)HEALTH
3 April: Medical bodies, MPs and health-sector unions write a joint-letter to the health secretary Matt Hancock, accusing the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) of a cover-up for refusing to release the full reports of three investigations it commissioned to look at the impact of upfront NHS charges on migrants’ health. (Guardian, 3 April 2019)
12 April: Using the ‘Humanitarian Mechanism’ for the first time, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) announces that it has secured pneumonia vaccines at an affordable price for the first time in Europe, and is using them to inoculate child refugees on the Greek islands of Chios, Samos and Lesvos. (The National Herald, 12 April 2019; Relief Web, 12 April 2019)
14 April: An Albanian family is facing deportation after the Home Office accuses them of lying about their right to asylum, using as evidence a comment made by their daughter, who was suicidal at the time, to a psychiatric nurse. Lawyers argued that the use of a child’s medical records was illegal, but the Court of Appeal dismissed the case. (The Times, 14 April 2019)
18 April: A British Medical Association (BMA) report provides evidence that immigrant patients are being deterred from seeking NHS treatment because of the policy of upfront charging introduced in 2017. The Department for Health and Social Care’s review of the policy remains unpublished. (Guardian, 18 April 2019)EMPLOYMENT AND EXPLOITATION
14 April: An Observer investigation highlights trafficking, exploitation, dehumanising work and racial and sexual abuse, including rape, of Moroccan migrant women in the strawberry fields of southern Spain. The women who were recruited under a seasonal Spanish-Moroccan workers visa scheme say that their situation worsened when they went to the police, who have refused to activate national anti-trafficking protocols. (Observer, 14 April 2019)
14 April: Four men are charged with human trafficking and assisting unlawful immigration offences after police stopped their van on the M5 in Devon on Friday and found 29 people in the back who are believed to be from Vietnam. (Guardian, 14 April 2019)
12 April: Using figures from the government’s Labour Force Survey, the TUC reports that BAME workers are a third more likely to have precarious zero-hours or temporary work contracts than their white counterparts and twice more likely to complain that they are given too few working hours to earn a living from. (BBC News, 12 April 2019)HOUSING
4 April: In Redbridge, the London borough with the highest number of asylum seekers, new council data shows that the number of people made homeless after being evicted from Home Office accommodation increased by five times between 2015 and 2018, from 5 to 28. (Ilford Recorder, 4 April 2019)
11 April: The Ministry of Housing, Communication and Local Government confirm that Professor Roger Scruton has been sacked as chairman of the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission following ‘unacceptable comments’, a reference to his apparent repetition of anti-Semitic statements concerning George Soros and his denial of Islamophobia. (Guardian, 11 April 2019)
12 April: A judge dismisses a legal challenge brought by two Kurdish asylum seekers in Glasgow against accommodation provider Serco’s right to carry out lock-change evictions of refused asylum seeker tenants without first obtaining a court order. (BBC News, 12 April 2019)
12 April: The UN Special Rapporteur for housing highlights the plight of people living in squats and informal settlements in France, adding that the country must act on the ‘dire’ living conditions of around 600-700 refugees and migrants sleeping rough in Calais. The systematic eviction of people from tents is cruel, inhuman and degrading and a violation of the right to adequate housing, she says. (Guardian, 12 April 2019)SPORT
3 April: After a similar letter to West Ham United last week, Crystal Palace FC has been asked by local MPs and the head of Croydon Council to denounce the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) as concerns grow about the increasing popularity of the far-right group among fans. (Guardian, 3 April 2019)
6 April: The English Football League (EFL) releases a statement condemning three incidents of racism at league games on Saturday, directed towards players for Derby, Wigan and Northampton respectively. (Guardian, 6 April 2019)
11 April: Three Chelsea supporters are barred from entering the team’s Europa League quarter-final against Slavia Prague after a video surfaces showing them in a bar in the Czech capital chanting that Mo Salah, a Muslim Egyptian former Chelsea player, is a ‘bomber’. A black Chelsea fan also complains of being racially abused by fellow Chelsea fans. (Guardian, 11 April 2019; BBC Sport, 13 April 2019)
11 April: Arsenal begins investigating a Snapchat video taken during the club’s home victory against Napoli in which Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is called the N- word. (Guardian, 12 April 2019)
12 April: A French Ligue 1 game between Dijon and Amiens is interrupted at the 78th minute after Amiens captain is targeted by racist monkey chants. (France 24, 13 April 2019)
13 April: West Ham United says that a group of supporters shown in a video shouting anti-Semitic chants on the way to the club’s away game against Manchester United will face a lifelong ban, and will be barred from travelling with the club. (Guardian, 13 April 2019)RACIAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT
2 April: In a Rome suburb, hundreds of people, including local residents and far-right and neo-fascist activists, violently demonstrate against 70 Roma people who were to be temporarily housed in a reception centre in the area. Rome’s city council agrees to transfer them elsewhere. (Guardian, 3 April 2019)
4 April: Data collected by victim counselling centres in five eastern German states, including Berlin and Saxony, show that over 1,200 far-right attacks took place in 2018, an average of 5 a day and a 7 per cent increase on the year before. (The Local, 4 April 2019)
10 April: A 41-year-old man from Thornton Heath, south London, whose home was raided last October, is jailed for four years after planning an attack with explosives on the the UK’s largest mosque, the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden. The former independent reviewer of terror legislation, Lord Carlisle, argues that the sentence is ‘unduly lenient’ for an offence of this kind. (Guardian, 10 April 2019; Independent, 11 April 2019)
12 April: The chief of police in the Bulgarian town of Gabrov resigns following two days of anti-Roma violence during which two houses occupied by Roma were set on fire. But politician’s criticism focuses on alleged Roma crimes and failed integration policies rather than the racism directed against the Roma. (Sofia Globe, 11 April 2019; Sofia Globe, 12 April 2019)
18 April: The Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN)’s annual report for 2018 records 117 incidents of racist violence across Greece, with 74 directed at refugees or migrants. The number of incidents in 2017 was 102. (Athens Live, 19 April 2019)
19 April: A stereotyped Jewish effigy, said to represent Judas, is burned and hanged by a crowd in the Polish town of Pruchnik on Good Friday. (Independent, 22 April 2019)
This calendar was compiled by Joseph Maggs with help from Graeme Atkinson, Jamie Wates and the IRR News Team.
The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) publishes today a compelling new report on ‘crimes of solidarity’, drawing attention to a dramatic increase in prosecutions, restrictions and penalties, against a variety of civil society actors.
The online publication of When Witnesses Won’t be Silenced: citizens’ solidarity and criminalisation comes just days after the Global Legal Action Network petitioned the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the prosecution in January 2016 of Salam Kamal-Aldeen, the founder of Team Humanity, for his rescue work in the Aegean Sea constitutes a violation of human rights law.
The IRR’s second report on ‘crimes of solidarity’ in eighteen months highlights the escalation in prosecution of migrant solidarity activists throughout Europe under aiding illegal immigration laws since the publication in November 2017 of our first report, documenting seventeen new cases involving ninety-nine people in 2018 and the first three months of 2019. (1)
Case studies reveal that people have been prosecuted for rescue at sea and on land, or for giving homeless people shelter, or halting deportations. Not only has there been a dramatic increase in prosecutions but, significantly, a step change in the type of charges being brought as well as greater restrictions on individuals once place under investigation. For instance:
*Charges have included membership of a criminal network or gang as well as, in the Stansted 15 case, terrorism-related offences
* In some cases, individuals and organisations have had phones tapped and bank accounts frozen
* In the case of search and rescue NGOS investigation and/or prosecution has been accompanied by ‘smear campaigns’ which seem to be spearheaded by the Italian government to delegitimise, slander and obstruct aid associations
*In one case, the mayor of Riace in Calabria, southern Italy was even placed under house arrest before being temporarily banished from the town.
To coincide with the publication of the report, the IRR has written today to the European Commissioner for Migration, Dimitri Avrampoulos, urging him to review the Facilitation Package and to take urgent steps to prevent the further prosecution of humanitarians for what civil society refers to as ‘crimes of solidarity’.
According to IRR Director, Liz Fekete, ‘The current spate of prosecutions, made possible by the failures of the European Commission, is completely unacceptable . What is clear though, is that civil society actors are more determined than ever before to fight for and with displaced people. Far from being deterred by prosecution, witnesses are refusing to be silenced.’
Authors Frances Webber, Liz Fekete and Anya Edmond-Pettitt are available for comment on 00 44 (0) 207 837 0041 / email@example.com
SPLC Action Fund: Florida House bill would contradict Amendment 4, making it harder for people with past felony convictions to vote
SPLC Action Fund: Florida immigration enforcement bill violates Constitution, makes communities less safe
SPLC answers questions about antigovernment extremists who detain migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border
Well I have a very good reason for not doing it earlier!
Yeah, it happens.
In any case as a review Pegida Canada was hit with a $10,000 penalty after losing a defamation suit resulting from an earlier rally and the statements subsequently posted to social media. Some reports suggested it was $11,000, though this might have been incorrect or it also took into account other expenses. Not long after they set up a Go Fund Me account to try to pay for the judgement. Among those attempting to help Pegida Canada raise the money was Mary Forrest who has been profiled hear before.... usually foul mouthed, possibly drunk (though she does also claim to have a traumatic brain injury), and joking about killing their political opposition. In a 20+ minute video (posted not long after the campaign began, Forrest appears to be trying to bully and guilt people into supporting the Go Fund Me campaign. Be forewarned that I've edited for length and have included my usual editorial snark:
She eventually gets to the crux of the issue. In short, and to sum up her brilliant legal analysis, Jenny Hill shouldn't have been sued because the social media post wasn't THAT defamatory:
However, the efforts of Hill, Forrest, and others have been for naught. ARC and others let Go Fund Me know that a hate group (and yes, they are a hate group) was attempting to raise money on their platform and.... well....
With this in mind, Pegida is planning on another march on May 4. Perhaps the fine people of Toronto might like to turn out in the same, or greater, numbers that they did on March 23?: