It has been nearly two years since the Pride Hamilton organization stared down the violent hate of far-right demonstrators on a day meant to celebrate acceptance and belonging.
It was a warm Saturday in June 2019 when members of the Yellow Vest movement and other extremist groups converged on the annual celebration at Gage Park in Hamilton’s east end. Wearing masks and other combat gear, with a few brandishing weapons, what started as chanting and insults quickly escalated to a violent altercation. Punches were thrown, people were tackled and demonstrators wearing hard hats head-butted some of the Pride organizers and volunteers.
The physical conflict lasted barely an hour, but when it was over, another kind of conflict began — one that has continued for two years and counting.
Pride Hamilton has filed an application against the Hamilton Police Service and the City of Hamilton in the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for failing to protect them that day.