Canada: call for solidarity with Hamilton Pride defenders

On 15th of June, the Pride March in Hamilton, Ontario, was attacked by a group of far right activists, christian fundamentalists and downright neo-nazis.

According to a report at the Canadian anarchist news website North Shore:

“They arrived with massive homophobic signs and banners, and immediately began to scream insults and slurs. They aggressively harassed individuals, made jokes about rape, and threatened physical violence. Things quickly escalated as the bigots violently confronted people who were holding a fabric barrier in an attempt to block them from disrupting Pride. Initiated by the far-right activists a brawl broke out – queers who refused to allow their presence to go unchallenged were attacked, but fought back. Several friends were injured and required medical attention. After being kicked out of Pride, this same group chased and assaulted queer youth in the neighborhood, and then went on to attack people at Toronto Pride the following week.”

Following these events, the Hamilton police apparently decided to focus exclusively on the persecution of the queer people for the act of defending themselves and their community. Specifically, the cops begun to target and harass queer anarchists-residents of Hamilton, including turning up to peoples’ homes.

On Saturday 22nd June, Cedar Hopperton, a well known anarchist and queer activist, was arrested for their alleged part in the Pride incident. According to the police press statement, they were arrested for violating parole by participating in a “public demonstration” at the 15th June Pride celebration, where “peace was disrupted.” Cedar has a previous conviction relating to the anti-gentrification action held in Hamilton in 2018 and is currently on probation. In light of their legal situation, Cedar chose to stay home during the Hamilton Pride.

The North Shore commented:

“But here’s the thing: Cedar Hopperton was not at Hamilton Pride. They weren’t masked up, they weren’t there holding a sign, and they weren’t involved in any confrontation. They weren’t there at all. They weren’t anywhere close to Gage Park [where the far right attack took place] that day. Instead they stayed home and offered support to those who left the park bloodied, battered, and shaken. As the papers reported, they did come out with supportive statements of those defending pride during an LGBTQ advisory committee meeting in the days after. Standing at a pedestal in city hall, Cedar argued that police are not and should never be part of the queer community, and applauded those at pride who stood up for themselves in the face of violence. Cedar’s arrest is a clear and calculated retaliation for these statements, and an attempt to muddy the waters by equating what happened at Pride with what happened on Locke Street last year.”

On Monday, another person turned themselves in to the police station and was released pending charges. A third person was arrested, charged with breach of probation for defending the Pride, and then released on Tuesday. Cedar however was kept in remand and started a hunger strike in protest. Meanwhile, Hamilton police does not seem to be too bothered with taking any action against the far-right activists who harassed and attacked the Pride march: despite of some of their names entering the public domain.

In light of the police action, the Hamilton anarchists have called for a day of action this Friday 28th June, demanding all charges against the Pride defenders to be dropped. The statement published by The Tower social centre statement reads:

“We are calling for a day of autonomous action in support of those who are facing repression for defending themselves and others from far-right violence at Hamilton Pride. This Friday, June 28th we are asking for people far and wide to show their support and solidarity by taking action where they live. Actions could include things like: banner drops, postering, rallies, or any number of other more creative endeavors 😉
If possible, it would be great if you could share it with us by sending a photo and/or a brief description to [email protected] You could also post things yourself on north-shore.info and send us the link.”

Seems like more than a decent way to keep yourselves busy this Friday, in Canada and beyond.

zb