EDMONTON (CITYNEWS) – Red Deer RCMP are being criticized for their inability to quell tensions at an anti-racism rally this week.
Many are saying the police force should have stepped in earlier to prevent violence when anti-protesters arrived on scene. The planned event was later cancelled.
“In both videos I’ve seen, from Red Deer and Ponoka, I would not be able to positively say their job was being conducted,” said Irfan Chaudhry, a hate crime researcher at MacEwan University. “At the end of the day, they need to be there to contain peace, maintain order. That did not happen.
“Ask folks to step back. Let them have their say, but maybe do it in a different area.”
On Tuesday, RCMP said the officers were not on location when punches were thrown, but they admit they knew about online threats leading up to the rally.
“It also feels like there is some willful displays of inaction because of broader narratives around defunding police services throughout North America,” said Chaudhry. “I hope that is not the case. But it could be a theory.”
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- Politicians’ statements on Red Deer violence leave some wanting more
- ‘Unacceptable’: Justice Minister decries violence at anti-racism rally
Online backlash against RCMP echoed Chaudhry’s comments.
“RCMP are failing in a big way. Their response to this is more than disturbing,” said one user on Twitter.
RCMP have launched an investigation into Monday’s violent rally, with Alberta’s Justice Minister Kaycee Madu also demanding answers.
After the news conference, I interviewed a Ponoka RCMP officer. When I asked him why RCMP were not taking more action (against the ppl w connections to hate groups) he said “are you suggesting one side's voice is more important than the others? b/c it's not.” pic.twitter.com/HvPzEhkWZ8
— Rachelle Elsiufi (@CityRachelle) September 23, 2020