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Protesters, supporters clash outside Maxime Bernier event in Hamilton

People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier greets reporters in Oromocto, NB. Sept. 17, 2019.
People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier greets reporters in Oromocto, NB. Sept. 17, 2019. Andrew Cromwell/Global News

A protest outside an event by People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier took a violent turn this evening as demonstrators clashed with supporters and those attending.

A fight broke out near the entrance of a hall at Hamilton’s Mohawk College before the talk was set to begin, and at least two people were led away in handcuffs.

A statement by Hamilton Police on Sunday night said four people had been detained and there were no reported injuries.

“Four arrests were made for breach of the peace,” the police statement said. “The arrested parties were removed from the scene and later released unconditionally.”

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The event, which will see Bernier discuss free speech with American political commentator Dave Rubin, has proven polarizing.

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The school has faced criticism for allowing Bernier to rent the facility, with some accusing the institution of providing a platform for hate speech.

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Rubin, meanwhile, tweeted earlier this week that the event had been cancelled due to “threats from Antifa,” stirring allegations of censorship. He later clarified the talk was still taking place.

Mohawk College’s president has said the school is bound by a “government-mandated freedom of speech policy” that requires it to provide opportunities for anyone to voice their views.

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“The event in question involves a member of a federal political party that is recognized in the national discourse,” Ron McKerlie tweeted earlier this month.

“Rental of this space does not represent an endorsement of the views of the organizers. Our policy is clear about events inciting hate.”

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Bernier has denounced “mass immigration” and “extreme multiculturalism,” and has promised to dramatically reduce the number of immigrants admitted to Canada, saying the country should look after its own citizens first.

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Those at the talk Sunday gave him a standing ovation as he arrived.

— With files by Global News