On Sept. 9, 2017 a few hundred people showed up to the Winnipeg Diversity Rally Against Hate, a large protest that was part of a series of demonstrations against hatred, white supremacy, fascism and the so-called “alt-right.”
“We do things here, in Winnipeg, on a different level than anti-fascist organizers in other cities. We’re very ingrained in the community,” Omar Kinnarath, with Fascist Free Treaty 1, says. He notes that anti-fascist organizers work closely with community and faith groups in Winnipeg. The organizing behind the Rally Against Hate was an example of this collaborative relationship.
The preparation for the Winnipeg Diversity Rally Against Hate started once word got out that Jesse Wielenga of the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI) was planning an anti-immigration rally in Winnipeg. This rally was piggybacking on an earlier “Fake News” rally planned by the Winnipeg Alternative Media (WAM).
Kinnarath notes that anti-fascist organizers had no issue with WAM’s rally until Wielenga expressed interest in attending and launching his own rally. In the end, Wielenga ended up not showing up in Winnipeg.
“We didn’t want him here,” Kinnarath says.
Kinnarath notes that the Winnipeg Diversity Rally Against Hate happened a month after the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA that resulted in the death of anti-fascist demonstrator Heather Heyer.
He suggests that this tragedy, alongside a media blitz by the organizing committee, contributed to the turnout.
The Winnipeg Diversity Rally Against Hate follows a trend of anti-fascist rallies in Winnipeg this year.
Published in Volume 72, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 30, 2017)