Christian Shomali / Staff Reporter

There was a rally and march in downtown Edmonton Saturday, held in action to COVID-19 measures, is now spreading awareness on racism.

An Edmonton Police officer stated that four police officers were attacked during the protests, and an organizer was arrested for creating some disturbance.

Edmonton MLA Rakhi Pancholi condemned the racism at the rally and said its the responsibility of everybody in the community stand up and protest and radicalized people.

“What does it tell them is that Alberta will tolerate this kind of racism and this kind of hate in our community. The onus is on all of us as individuals, but particularly on the leadership of this province, to stand up and say: ‘No, that’s not what Alberta’s about,’” Pancholi said. Written by Lisa MacGregor.

In a statement Monday evening, Premier Jason Kenney condemned racism at the rally.

“Albertans value the constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and assembly. This weekend, protesters gathered at the Alberta Legislature to oppose our government’s public health measures that are in place to protect the vulnerable, and our hospitals, from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kenney stated.

“I understand that publicity for this event incorporated an image apparently taken from the notorious 2017 Charlottesville torch rally, which was an explicitly white supremacist event.

“Prominent racists promoted Saturday’s protest at the legislature, and individuals attended the event from known hate groups like the ‘Soldiers of Odin’ and ‘Urban Infidels.’ Albertans believe in the dignity of every human being, and have no time for these voices of division and hate, or the symbols that they represent,” Kenney said. 

Opposition leader Rachel Notley announced a statement in response to Kenney’s that said: “We cannot equivocate on racism. After two days of silence, Premier Jason Kenney finally released a statement on the torch march this weekend in Edmonton.”

Mayor Don Iveson called the tiki torches at the rally appalling and that the protest may force the province to tighten the restrictions.

“The great irony of a let’s-open-back-up rally making life harder for small businesses is not lost on me.”

Aheer also said she took exception to the question given that she has spoken out against racism in the past.

“I don’t know if you read an article that I wrote about a year and a half ago about white supremacy. I have absolutely been exposed to that in my past,” she said.

“I find this question to be very disingenuous considering my own background, and considering what I have had actually had to put up with in my lifetime when it comes to white supremacy.”

Kisha Daniels, co-founder of Black and Indigenous Alliance Alberta, organized the peace walk in response to white supremacists crashing the Sept. 20 anti-racism protest.

“We decided to hold a peace walk today to bring peace to our city and a message that Red Deer largely is not the way it’s being painted. It’s largely a friendly city,” she said. Written by Kaylen Small.

Staff Sgt. Marlene Brown stated that the RCMP had an acceptable amount of resources in place to ensure public safety, noting that several roads were blocked off.

“We hope to bring a message of peace and unity to the city. We have different organizations coming out to support us. I know they say they want to have a conversation with us, but we have no way to communicate with them because they have blocked us on all social media,” she said.

The rally was involved in a convoy that started in Lethbridge, went through Calgary and Red Deer, finishing in at the Alberta legislature.

There appears to be no signs of looting and rioting in Red Deer in connection with BLM.