WATCH: Police clash with Soldiers of Odin at Vancouver anti racism march
Vancouver police were forced to intervene after a group of men from a group that calls itself “The Soldiers of Odin” turned up at an anti-racism rally at Victory Square Sunday afternoon.
Rally organizer Imtiaz Popat says about a hundred people showed up at Victory Square in advance of International Day Against Racism, when members of the allegedly anti-immigrant group Soldiers of Odin showed up and began pushing.
“They actually attacked us, intimidating the crowd, picking up chairs and trying to hit people. The police were mostly watching and finally arrested those who were inciting violence but let those people who weren’t inciting physical violence there to try and intimidate the crowd.”
Popat says the Soldiers of Odin have been at several of his group’s events to try and incite violence and fuel the Alt-Right movement; he says it shows there’s a need more than ever to show a united front against racism.
Cell phone video from the scene shows a group of men in black hoodies walking through the crowd, met with loud chanting by the attendees.
About a minute into the video, a scuffle breaks out between two men, which quickly escalates at which point which VPD officers step in and forcibly pull them apart.
Several of the men wearing hoodies are then led away and handcuffed by officers.
CKNW has reached out to the VPD and Soldiers of Odin Vancouver for comment.
The Soldiers of Odin describe themselves as a volunteer organization who are “here to help any Canadian in need regardless of race, colour or creed.”
However, the Canadian chapters share a name with a Finnish anti-immigrant group, criticized for alleged links to racist organizations.
Soldiers of Odin Canada claims it is independent and denies links to neo-Nazi groups and biker gangs.
WATCH: Who are the Soldiers of Odin
With files from Matt Lee