WATCH: The tent city in Nanaimo continues to prove a source of contention. Now a march by opponents of the encampment is being planned for this Sunday. It’s being organized by a group called Action Against Discontent City and members of a controversial right-wing group, called Soldiers of Odin, say they’ll be there too. Kendall Hanson spoke to one of its members today.
He’s the head of the Vancouver Island Chapter of the Soldiers of Odin. He claims it has more than 100 members but he doesn’t want his name known.
“Just due to our club’s security protocols,” said the Chapter’s President.
On Tuesday night several of the club’s members met to begin planning a march to protest Nanaimo’s Discontent City.
“I think most of the people in the community would like to see the tent city disbanded and moved on. We don’t want these people scattered to the wind. We want social services, local government to step in, provide them with housing and addiction services, whatever they need to make this problem go away,” he said.
They say they’ve been asked to join the march to ensure the safety of those wanting to take part. The Soldiers of Odin were formed as an anti-immigrant vigilante group in Finland in 2015.
The Vancouver Island members say they’ve cut all ties with the Finnish founders and they’re not extremists.
“We have members of all creeds, colours, religions and our detractors would like you to believe we’re Nazi’s. We’re this or that but that’s the narrative right. If you don’t agree with the liberal narrative that’s the buzz word you’re a Nazi you’re a racist,” said the Chapter’s President.
RCMP say they’re aware of the march and will be monitoring it to ensure public safety.
“It worries me and I have to say I was concerned about the rally,” said Nanaimo’s Mayor Bill McKay.
After watching the interview with CHEK News Nanaimo’s mayor hopes the Soldiers keep to their word about not provoking violence.
“I certainly, hope their presence is not going to provide the audience or the stage for confrontation,” said McKay. “We’re supposed to be working together here. It appears they’re looking for exactly the same things the folks at tent city and their activists are looking for.”
One tent city resident says he hopes for the same. He says people at the camp have already been subjected to verbal abuse and had rocks and bottles thrown at them.
“It’s very degrading to us you know and it doesn’t make it easier for us to get help because we’re not driven to do it now because we’re depressed or we’re suffering from those attacks,” said Jay Vinot, a tent city resident.
The march is planned for Sunday afternoon.