In photos: Antifa demonstrators confront far-right rally at Nathan Phillips Square

Newer faces among the usual anti-Muslim suspects hints at splintering of support among far-right groups, say anti-racism activists


On one side of the police barrier you had Antifa. On the other, a motley crew holding signs attacking everything from communism to feminism and abortion to the Liberals’ anti-Islamophobia Motion 103.

What was billed as a “Trudeau Must Go” rally at Nathan Phillips Square Saturday, October 21, attracted some of the usual suspects who’ve been in attendance at anti-Muslim demos across the city in recent months, along with some newer faces. Among them, members of the Northern Guard, who trekked from Quebec, and the Proud Boys.

Organizers planned for several hundred demonstrators in the days leading up to the demo, including from Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba. The few dozen who did show up were confronted by a large group of counter demonstrators, including Toronto IWW Defence Committee Local 28 and SAFE: Solidarity Against Fascism Everywhere. 

A phalanx of bike cops, who almost outnumbered the main demo, separated the two sides, while more police on horseback stood at the ready nearby. The faceoff grew angry at times, with both sides yelling at each other. A number of skirmishes between opposing demonstrators reportedly led to charges against four people. 

But the mass show of strength promised by organizers never materialized. According to Antifa groups, which have been monitoring various far-right organizations since a spate of anti-Muslim demonstrations across the country earlier this year, factional infighting and the loss of softer support after the violence at Charlottesville has caused splintering among a number of groups.

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