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Edited/Distributed by HURINet - The Human Rights Information Network
'Charge Skinheads in Anti-Gypsy March,' Jewish Group Urges
By Maureen Murry, Toronto Star, 28 August 1997
28 August 1997 (Toronto Star): A Jewish group is calling on police to charge skinheads who organized a protest against Gypsy refugee claimants staying at a Scarborough motel.
Metro police said...they are considering whether charges should be laid in the incident, which occurred Tuesday afternoon in front of the Lido Motel on Kingston Rd. near Lawrence Ave. E.
Bernie Farber, spokesperson for the Canadian Jewish Congress, said he can't understand why the skinheads weren't arrested during the protest.
"Here you had a group of hate-mongers carrying Nazi flags and signs saying: 'Honk If You Hate Gypsies.'
"Can you imagine what would have been the reaction if they had been carrying signs saying: 'Honk If You Hate Blacks' or 'Honk If You Hate Jews'?"
"If Canada's hate crime laws were written for anything, (they were) written for this."
The skinheads, some wearing scarves over their faces, shouted, "Out, Gypsies, Out!" and carried flags of the Confederacy and another with an Iron Cross and Nazi swastika.
B'Nai Brith Canada...issued a statement yesterday condemning the protest and offering assistance to the "victims of this demonstration of hate."
Farber said he finds it unbelievable...police at the scene did nothing but observe the situation while staying between the sidewalk marchers and the Gypsy families.
Controversy has been stirred up since a wave of Gypsy families began coming to Canada from the Czech Republic after an Aug. 6 airing there of a television documentary, which portrayed Canada as a land of opportunity where it was easy to settle as a refugee.
The families have been staying at the motel while their refugee claims are being processed.
Constable Devin Keaaley of the police media relations department said the incident is being investigated by 42 Division's street crime unit as well as the police hate crime unit.