Hello, Ward 8 Neighbours!
On Sunday, September 29th a contentious political speaking event was held at the Mohawk College McIntyre Performing Arts Centre.
Event attendees were met by a large group of approximately 100 protesters as they entered the building. Hamilton Police and Mohawk College Security Services were onsite to ensure community safety and well-being for protesters and attendees.
For more details, please continue reading below.
Observations From The Protest at Mohawk College
I was at the Mohawk College event. I was there to observe what was happening and to show solidarity with those peacefully protesting against hate and intolerance in Hamilton.
In Hamilton, these divisions hit a boiling point with a hateful and violent confrontation at the June 15th Pride Festival at Gage Park and have continued with weekly protests and counter protests at Hamilton City Hall.
In my opinion, the incidents at Mohawk College are a symptom of what I fear is escalating intolerance in our City and the normalization of neo-fascism, toxic populism and the politics of division.
The both sides narrative provides an underserved equivalency to those perpetuating intolerance and hate. At the Mohawk College event, I observed extremists from multiple affiliations doing everything they could to provoke a reaction and confrontation. It reminded me of kids poking at each other to get a rise.
I believe police did an exemplary job in an extremely chaotic and volatile situation.
My understanding was that the Police objective for this protest was to keep the peace and make sure that no one got hurt.
I have shared my observations with the Mayor, Council’s Police Services Board members, the Police Chief and Deputy and the officers who were on the ground that night.
Police made four arrests at the protest itself.
Three additional arrests were made subsequent to the event on October 23rd, 2019.
Police are currently reviewing video evidence and will lay further charges as deemed suitable.
Please be assured that the police know exactly who the agitators are – whether they are Antifa, Anarchists, Yellow Vests, Proud Boys, neo-Nazis or just angry jerks.
What Is Council Doing About Hate in Hamilton?
Hamilton City Council is working towards a strategic approach to better understand and mitigate the ongoing issues of hatred and intolerance in Hamilton.
In July, Hamilton City Council approved improvements to security cameras at City Hall and to hire a security investigator to collect better information from protests on site and to make sure that information is collected and shared according to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).
In August, Council agreed to hire an external consultant to help with community consultation and to review the City’s proposed hate mitigation policies.
More recently, Hamilton City Council approved a new trespassing bylaw to provide Hamilton Police and City of Hamilton bylaw officers an additional tool that will allow them to better deal with ongoing hate based protests and counter protests at City Hall and on other City of Hamilton Properties.
Council’s work on this issue is ongoing and we are very cognizant of the need to maintain resident’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest while we implement solutions to bad and undesirable behaviour.
Finally, many of my fellow Councillors and I are continuing to try to better understand the personal experiences of vulnerable members of our City who have been victimized as a result of these issues and show our support for those continuing to peacefully protest against hatred and intolerance in Hamilton.
Questions or Concerns?
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office here.