Action Montreal: Report-back from Christchurch Solidarity Vigil and Counter-Demo

Montreal: Report-back from Christchurch Solidarity Vigil and Counter-Demo

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On March 16, the day after the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, Montréal Antifasciste organized a rally in solidarity with the victims, which was simultaneously an antiracist counter-demonstration, given the presence on the site of notorious Islamophobes, one of whom publicly “thanked” the terrorist responsible for the attack.

The day after the white supremacist and fascist terrorist attack in New Zealand found us in a state of shock. Besides the absolutely despicable nature of the attack—the killer filmed and live streamed the murders of fifty people at two different mosques—two things jumped out at us. First, the terrorist’s manifesto indicated the influence of an “ecofascist” discourse, which calls to mind ideas advanced by Atalante Québec and other neo-fascists. Second, he paid homage to Québec terrorist Alexandre Bissonnette by inscribing Bissonnette’s name on one of his cartridge clips.

We were also shocked by what was being published by the Québec fascist scene, which at best claimed the attack was a false flagaction and at worst celebrated it. Adding insult to injury, we soon found out that a number of Islamophobes were planning one of the weekly demonstrations of the (phoney) “Yellow Vests” outside of the Montréal offices of TVA television on Saturday, March 16.

Wishing both to honour the memory of the people who had been murdered and to prevent racists who were celebrating the event from gathering outside of the TVA building we decided to hold a solidarity rally at their usual meeting point. Time was short, and we didn’t know that approximately ten other solidarity events would follow ours, with hundreds of people in attendance. We had hoped that our gathering would make the Islamophobes think twice about showing up outside of TVA out of a basic and obvious respect for those who were in mourning.

We had underestimated their lack of basic decency…

By 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, about a hundred people from different scenes had responded to the Montréal Antifasciste callout to gather outside the doors of TVA behind a banner reading “Contre le racisme et la haine” [Against Racism and Hatred]. The people present were taking turns leading chants, when, at 11:30 a.m., people sporting yellow vests arrived on the sidewalk across the street from us. We were (disagreeably) shocked to discover that the leading the packwas none other than Pierre Dion, the Islamophobic militant recently banned from social media following a series of threats and a pattern of verbal aggression. Eventually, the “Yellow Vests” numbered a few less than twenty. We know that there were people among them who had no idea they were surrounded by Islamophobes, and we don’t hold them in any way responsible. We do, however, believe that this article should be a wake-up call for them.

Here’s a list of the far-right militants who were present:

Pierre Dion, homophobe, and conspiracy theorist who aspires to be the leader of a motley crew of nationalist whack jobs who make La Meute look like diplomats par excellence.
Michel Meunier, aka Mickey Mike, Mickey Mayer or Mickey Myers, Islamophobe and apologist for terrorism (for example, he has called for another Islamophobic attack at a Québec mosque and expressed his “gratitude” for the terrorist attack in Christchurch).
Michel Ethier, aka “Le Piratriote” [roughly, the Pirate Patriot], a vulgar Islamophobe, a fan of ALL CAPS insults, and a member of the Front patriotique du Québec.
Mario Dallaire, an Islamophobe regularly spotted at Storm Alliance rallies and on the “security”team at far-right demonstrations.
Robin « Le prophète » Simon, member of the Front patriotique du Québec and its securityteam, the GSP, now associated with the III % militia.
Claude Roy, an Islamophobic tinkerer known for his Styrofoam creations of questionable taste (and repeated complaints that nobody wants his shit).
André Boies, Islamophoboic propagandist and conspiracy theorist, owner of the Les Manchettes disinformation website, and the translator into French of the manifesto released by the terrorist responsible for the attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Boies says he was there by mere happenstance, but we are highly skeptical.)

Without really having to work at it, we identified seven known Islamophobic and racist militants in a group of at most twenty people, which raises some serious questions about the Québec “Yellow Vests” pseudo-movement!

Obviously, as antifascists and antiracists, we couldn’t either just sit around twiddling our thumbs or limit ourselves to a silent vigil. From 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., the time set for the “Yellow Vests” rally, we drowned out their chants and their diatribes with our own slogans and prevented them from crossing the street twice, in spite of a muscular police presence.

We were astonished to discover what this “Yellow Vest” movement actually is and who it is made up of. Honestly, up to this point, we hadn’t paid all that much attention to them, but we must say, we did learn some interesting things. . .

Four years of experience tells us that the Islamophobic far-right groupuscules in Québec (first and foremost, PEGIDA Québec, as well as La Meute, Storm Alliance, the Front patriotique du Québec,and all their sad little spinoffs) have a consistent need to demonstrate to justify their existence and disguise their lack of significance, a sort of mad plunging ahead that grows increasingly laughable. They are calling their upcoming ritual demonstration, called for May 4, the“Vague bleue” [Blue Wave]. . .Once again, outside of the TVA offices. It’s obviously an obsession! All of the Islamophobic groups—real and virtual—with the exception of La Meute, are apparently calling for people to join this“Vague bleue.”

Another thing we’ve noticed in this four years is that every time we prevent the far right from demonstrating it grows weaker…

Critical Balance Sheet

We are aware that our gathering on Saturday, March 16, had more of the flavour of a counter-demonstration than of a memorial vigil. We would have liked to hold a memorial, but the presence of Islamophobes across the street made that impossible. Thankfully, in the following week, numerous gatherings reflected the true nature of Montréal: a dignified and diverse city.

In spite of everything, we came out of the experience feeling stronger. We mobilized rapidly (in less than twenty-four hours) and in good numbers (more than one hundred people turned out),including some our closest allies, as well as members of many of Montréal’s diverse communities.

Also notable and encouraging was the obvious popular support we received, even though the chosen site—outside of TVA on Maisonneuve—is in a low-traffic and unappealing area: for example, the group of joggers who passed by middle finger erect in Pierre Dion’s direction, the cyclists and taxis that gave us regular shout-outs, the neighbours who brought us gallons of coffee and hot chocolate, those who came to thank us, infuriated by the weeks of Islamophobic and racist comments on their doorsteps, and the occasional passerby who stopped for a few minutes to talk and share their thoughts with us or to shout a few choice words at Pierre Dion and his gang. We are grateful for everyone’s support. Solidarity is also a matter of small gestures.

– Montréal Antifasciste

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P.S. Things fall apart for the “Yellow Vests”

When we were outside of TVA on March 16, it was impossible not to notice the silly antics of Anderson Dufresne, who spent the day flailing about in all directions on his “hoverboard,” dancing, singing, not infrequently falling down… and providing a useful foil in the face of accusations of racism (Dufresne is black). The phoney “Yellow Vests,” with Pierre Dion at their head, repeated at least fifty times in three hours: “We can’t be racist; we have our black friend with us!” However, in the few weeks since that gathering, things have gotten tense between Anderson Dufresne and that racist piece of shit Michel Meunier, whom we mentioned above. Things have heated up, with Meunier calling multiple times for Dufresne to be purged from the “Yellow Vests.” Meunier finally let loose with a stream of racism of the vilest kind, egged on by a few other “Yellow Vests,” shining the light of day on the internal contradictions that plague this pseudo-movement. Read Xavier Camus’ report for more details.


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