January riots are smaller than June riots: “Islamaphobic” founder of English Defence League causes a ruckus when he speaks to Toronto group, but it’s no G20
Sometimes people think it’s a bright idea to bring divisive, extremist people from outside the country to lecture us on what we’re doing wrong. And we don’t just mean Sarah Palin—apparently, the Jewish Defence League of Canada invited the similar-sounding but unrelated English Defence League’s founder, Tommy Robinson, to give a speech via video. The EDL is a group opposed to “political Islam” from the U.K. Apparently, as Robinson spoke at the EDL last night, some locals decided to stage counter-protests, and, well, things got heated from there. (Although not nearly as heated as some protests against the EDL in the U.K. See video, at left.)
According to the National Post:
“EDL go to hell,” demonstrators chanted on the street outside the Toronto Zionist Centre where Tommy Robinson, leader of the British anti-Islamist group, was to address about 50 supporters.
The protesters blocked the street in front of the centre until pushed back by police. At least two demonstrators were arrested. Eight officers on horseback kept a close watch on the remaining protesters.
The “support rally” for Mr. Robinson was organized by the right-wing Jewish Defence League under the banner “stop political Islam,” but Canada’s largest Jewish organization opposed the event, citing the tactics of the EDL, known for demonstrations that often degenerate into violence.
One police officer was injured last night, which isn’t a first for events where Robinson or the EDL show up—though it does seem like in this case, the officer in question was injured by one of the people protesting the EDL, not a supporter. Maybe if the JDL had really wanted to make headlines, they could have tried holding their little event in July.
The whole event is not worth making too big a deal out of—50 guests for Robinson’s speech, probably fewer protesters, and not a single kettling. Some people are perhaps rightly concerned about bringing unsavoury right-wingers to our shores, but this is a bit small-time for us to get really worried. Robinson continues to have legal troubles in his own country—we’ll start to worry when he’s able to use his passport again.
• ‘Islamophobic’ group draws fierce protests [National Post]
• Officer injured, protesters arrested over meeting at Zionist Centre [Globe and Mail]
• Anti-Islamic group from U.K. to hold rally [National Post]