February 3, 2016 11:36 am
Updated: February 4, 2016 12:48 am

WATCH: Vancouver mayor says meeting of followers of notorious pick-up artist not welcome in the city

WATCH: There's growing outrage tonight about the leader of the so-called 'Return of Kings' mens movement. Roosh V. has sparked anger over his views, particularly on women. Global's Jill Bennett has more.


UPDATE: On Wednesday, the Return of Kings decided to cancel all meetups around the globe planned for Saturday.

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Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is joining a number of other mayors around the country who are speaking out against hatred and misogyny ahead of the planned meet-up of followers of a notorious pick-up artist from the United States.

Daryush Valizadeh, or Roosh V, is an American blogger known for making outrageous statements, such as calling for legalized rape on private property, and is thought of by many as a promoter of hate speech.

While there are no plans for Roosh V. to set foot in Vancouver, a number of meet-ups for his supporters are being planned for this Saturday.

Supporters of Roosh V. and his website Return of Kings are promoting an International Meetup Day on Feb. 6, with 10 Canadian cities on the agenda.

In B.C., they include Surrey, Victoria, and outside the main public library in Vancouver.

The website describes Saturday’s meetings as “tribal gatherings,” reserved strictly for heterosexual “masculine men to bond and converse.”

“I take issue and I know many Vancouverites will be very disappointed to hear that this group will be meeting here,” says Robertson. “The speech and the values that they put out, they are disgusting and frankly hate-based. They are certainly not welcome in the City of Vancouver.”

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi, Edmonton’s Don Iveson and Toronto’s John Tory took up the call as well.

Vancouver resident Mitch Bowmen heard about the upcoming meet-ups and reached out to friends to do something about it.

Bowmen says he thought it would be a good idea to have a group of people show up who are opposed to the meet-up and step in, if need be, to keep others safe.

“When you have a group of people meeting who treat women the way they do, it seems like there is a lot of potential there for people to be harassed,” he says.

On Wednesday, Surrey RCMP said they are “aware of the “Return of Kings” meeting that has reportedly been scheduled for Saturday evening in Surrey and will be monitoring to ensure the public’s safety.”

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affords people the right to express their thoughts, beliefs and opinions. Our focus remains on keeping our community safe and our response will be determined by the circumstances of any incident or event.

“However, the law is clear, sex without consent is illegal. We will investigate all reports of sexual crime, working with partners to support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Victoria Police Department is also responding to concerns and promising to keep a watchful eye.

It’s not the first time Roosh V has prompted protests in Canada.

Last year he held an event in Montreal, where he had a drink thrown in his face. His speaking tour then ended in Toronto and he was faced with more opposition.

– With files from Jill Bennett and Steve Morales

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