Social media activists say two Quebecers were at Charlottesville rally
These men were pictured in the Vice News documentary.
Published Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:39PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 17, 2017 7:18AM EDT
An anti-racist group trying to identify the people who took part in the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville says it has uncovered two Quebecers in the midst.
The white supremacist and neo-Nazi demonstrators are being outed via screen grabs and photos on social media.
In an explosive documentary from Vice News on the Charlottesville rally, some Unite the Right demonstrators said they travelled from Canada to participate.
One is seen on camera saying he drove 12 hours to reach the event, adding, “In Canada, hurting people's feelings is basically illegal.”
He stands by as white nationalist Christopher Cantwell, a speaker at the rally, makes white supremacist statements about Donald Trump “giving his daughter to a Jew” and referring to Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown as “some little black asshole behaving like a savage and he gets himself in trouble.”
He goes on to say of white people, “of course we’re capable of violence. I carry a pistol, I go to the gym all the time. I’m trying to make myself more capable of violence.”
Later, Cantwell shows off his arsenal of weapons to VICE News journalist Elle Reeve.
Quebec Anti-PEGIDA activists, an anti-racism group, has set out to name the participants, saying they crossed the border to commit hate.
“The goal is simple: Nazi behaviour must not be accepted, tolerated or excused… these people from Montreal crossed borders to commit hateful and violent acts. It a crime!” the group said in a statement.
So far they have identified two, claiming one is a known member of La Meute – or was until Tuesday night.
“He told us he took part in the demo in Charlottesville, but said he wasn't part of a far right group. But he withdrew his membership because he didn't want to implicate La Meute for his personal actions,” said the group’s spokesperson Sylvain Brouillette.
La Meute claims the man is not a white supremacist.
La Meute has taken part in demonstrations against radical Islam and illegal immigration, though it mostly operates as a private Facebook group.
“We have a private page for members because there are concerns that it will affect their jobs if the media finds out,” said Brouillette.
Whether it's legal to out people online depends on context, explained Mark Bantey, a lawyer with Gowling WLG.
“Once you're participating in a demonstration, it's fair game to publish your photo. It's fair game to identify you as a participant,” he said.
Bantey said the only limitation is defamation laws.
“Make sure, if you are going to call people out, that you've got the right people and that you don't go too far in your comments,” he warned.
La Meute said it will go ahead with Sunday's demonstration in Quebec City as planned.
Counter-protesters also plan to be there.
La Meute said it plans a peaceful demonstration.