Tempers flare as counter-protesters outnumber attendees at far-right rally in Toronto
Tempers flared as counter-protesters greatly outnumbered the attendees at a far-right rally in downtown Toronto on Saturday.
The group Pegida, a far-right, anti-Islam group, held a rally near University Avenue and Dundas Street on Saturday afternoon.
Around 30 Pegida protesters showed up, while around 250 counter-protesters, some wearing masks, were there at the height of the event.
There was a heavy police presence in the area as officers used barricades to separate the two groups and prevent clashes.
Scuffles occasionally broke out between the protesters and tensions remained high for most of the afternoon.
The situation grew increasingly tense in the early evening as counter-protesters worked to block the far-right protesters from marching and police looked to put an end to the event altogether.
As of just before 5 p.m., police said no arrests had been made though a Global News crew did see some individuals get detained.
Mayor John Tory condemned the rally in the lead up to it on Twitter Saturday morning.
“I strongly condemn the ideology & tactics of white supremacists planning to demonstrate & disrupt today in our city,” Tory said.
“There is no place for them in our Toronto.”
Tory said he has been in contact with police Chief Mark Saunders who assured him that police have prepared for the event.
The rally comes just two days after a Toronto event for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination saw scuffles break out and around one week after a massacre at two New Zealand mosques in which 50 people were killed.
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