Police are investigating after attendees of a Hamilton Pride Parade were attacked by right-wing groups over the weekend.

Members of the Yellow Vest movement – who have recently been protesting at Hamilton’s city hall – are suspected to have been involved in the clash at Gage Park, which resulted in minor injuries. Matthew Green, a former Hamilton city councillor and current federal NDP candidate, said he saw the altercation break out because of “far-right evangelicals” who were there “just there to sucker-punch people.”

According to the site AntiHate.ca, “the Yellow Vests movement has been entirely co-opted by the far-right including most extreme anti-Muslim groups in Canada.”

The same website reports that Hamilton is becoming the new hotbed for Yellow Vest activity in Canada, with the city’s chapter holding regular demonstrations that bring out the most militant anti-Muslim hate groups. A rally at City Hall on June 10 brought out a crowd of between 30 and 50, including the Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys, the Canadian Nationalist Party.

In February, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer gave an address to the Yellow Vests when their convoy came to Ottawa, outlining his support for them, and defended his stance when faced with criticism.

The far-right protesters carried banners with slogans such as “the wicked shall be cast into Hell,” and “Liberal commies and homo fascists are destroying Canada and our children.” According to the site

This isn’t the first time the Yellow Vests and the far-right have been linked with violence in Canada.

The 2018 van attack in north Toronto was perpetrated by a known “incel,” Alek Minassian, who had expressed hatred towards women online. The 10 dead and 14 wounded in the attack were “predominantly” women, ranging in age from their 20s to their 80s.

The incel community is identified as a right-wing hate group and is a “real and present” threat to Canadians, according to prominent criminologists. At least 60,000 people are active in the three main public incel forums online.

Another recent example of violence linked to Canada’s alt-right is the 2017 shooting at a Quebec City mosque that killed six worshippers and injured 19. The shooter, Alex Bissonette, admired far-right figures like Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen and frequently referred to women as “feminazis.”

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has recently said that violent white supremacists and other far-right groups threaten the country’s stability and should be the primary focus of the international community’s counter-terrorism efforts.

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