Victoria Park rally condemns violence and celebrates inclusion

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Hundreds gathered in London Wednesday to show solidarity with counter-protesters who marched in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

“If we’re not outraged, then we’re not paying attention,” said Wendy Goldsmith of People of the Peace London, which with the London Chapter of the Council of Canadians organized Wednesday’s event.

One woman was killed and another 19 were injured when a car drove through a group counter-protesting a rally called Unite the Right organized by alt-right groups and white nationalists in Charlottesville Saturday.

Protesters and counter-protesters had clashed the night before at the base of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in the city’s Emancipation Park.

Two Virginia State police officers monitoring the situation died in a helicopter crash.

Outside Victoria Park Wednesday night, rally-goers held signs, sang songs of inclusivity, and cheered speakers who condemned the violence and actions of the Unite the Right protestors.

Virginian Didi Pinto held a sign saying Virginia Is For Lovers, the state’s travel slogan.

“We fought too hard and have made too much progress to be going this quickly backwards. It’s scary to see,” said.

Others held signs with messages of acceptance.

There were no counter-protesters at Wednesday’s rally. London police patrolled the event to ensure public safety.

“It was a good happy crowd full of support. It’s wonderful,” Goldsmith said.

“It will be different on the 26th (of August).”

That’s when Pegida Canada London, also known as Patriots of Canada Against the Islamization of the West, plans a noon-hour rally at London city hall.

Goldsmith told the Victoria Park crowd Wednesday that organizers plan their own rally to counter the Pegida gathering.

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