Anti-racism group confronts lockdown protesters in downtown Calgary

The group of Albertans meeting weekly to protest public health orders were counter-protested by an anti-racism rally Sunday at Olympic Plaza. 

Hundreds have joined the Walk for Freedom movement, which is mainly comprised of people who oppose public health orders and claim their freedoms are being taken away by the government. 

But in recent weeks, they've been met by a growing number of Calgarians promoting anti-racism. 

That group has taken an exception to the constant comparisons of COVID-19 restrictions and Nazi Germany. They're also outraged by many anti-mask protesters who carry tiki torches, which have a connection to a deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi has previously denounced those protesters and called their behaviour "disgusting."

On Sunday, Calgary police had to separate the two sides as they hurled insults and accusations across a line of officers. 

"Today we are here to stand against hate that has been marching through our streets for months," anti-racism protester Taylor McNallie told CTV News. "With government officials not doing anything about this, the community has to come together and do the job ourselves."

McNallie is upset more fines and tickets are not being handed out to those involved with March for Freedom. 

But that group has been getting more pushback in recent weeks as race-related crimes gain more attention worldwide. 

Sunday's counter-protesters accuse the anti-lockdown group of "adding to the hatred."

"You have to stand up to that," Maskwasis Boysis said. "You can't let it just go roaming free or it's just going to keep building and building."

March for Freedom organizers have repeatedly denied any connections to racist organizations. They say their demonstrations are only meant to draw attention to the "strict controls being forced" on Albertans in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Police say they did not give out any tickets during Sunday's protests.