Soldiers of Odin attend demonstration at Surrey mosque
Surrey RCMP have confirmed a far-right group was involved in a protest outside of a Surrey mosque this week.
Spokesperson Cpl. Scotty Schumann says police attended the Surrey Jamea Masjid Mosque on 124th Street Tuesday night, and observed members of the Soldiers of Odin amid the crowd.
“They were wearing jackets and t-shirts that said exactly that,” he said.
The group, which is alleged to have links to the European far right, has been a growing presence in Canada, where it has begun ‘safety patrols’ in various communities.
Schumann says the group does have the attention of police across Canada.
“As far as in Surrey we really haven’t seen them doing anything, however, I am aware that they do have active members or chapters across the country.”
Schumann said members of Tuesday’s demonstration didn’t break any laws and left the scene without incident.
“Certainly it wouldn’t be against the law for somebody to say that they don’t appreciate the government and their efforts for how they treat refugees, but it would be another thing to distribute hate propaganda or hateful speech.”
CKNW has reached out to the mosque for comment.
While the group has generally kept a low profile, they made headlines in Vancouver in March when they crashed an anti-racism rally at Victory Square, clashing with demonstrators.
WATCH: Soldiers of Odin attend anti-racism rally
Police arrested three men, but all were released without charges.
Concerns were also raised about the group in September of last year after it posted videos of its members walking Vancouver streets in what it described as “a neighbourhood watch-based activity with a focus on the safety of women, children and the elderly.”
The Canadian chapters share the name with a Finnish anti-immigration group that sprung up amid the European refugee crisis, but insists it is independent, peaceful, and has no links to neo-Nazi or biker groups.
But the group has drawn the attention of organizations like the Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society, with spokesperson Alan Dutton telling Global News in September the Soldiers were raising red flags.
“There’s real concern about the various chapters of the Soldiers of Odin and certainly in Europe,” Dutton said.
“There are connections — a clear-cut connection — that have been reported between this group and racist organizations,” he said.
- With files from Jon Azpiri
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.