Premier Jason Kenney, in a statement on Twitter, denounced the imagery used by those protesting the COVID-19 lockdown measures during a rally at the Alberta Legislature Feb. 20.
“While Albertans value the constitutionally-protected freedoms of speech & assembly, they also believe in the dignity of every human being, and have no time for voices of division & hate or the symbols that they represent,” Kenney said on Twitter Feb. 22.
“Prominent racists promoted Saturday’s protest at the Legislature, and individuals attended the event from known hate groups like the ‘Soldiers of Odin’ and ‘Urban Infidels’. I condemn these voices of bigotry in the strongest possible terms,” said Kenney.
My statement on this weekend’s events at the Legislature.— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) February 23, 2021
While Albertans value the constitutionally-protected freedoms of speech & assembly, they also believe in the dignity of every human being, and have no time for voices of division & hate or the symbols that they represent. pic.twitter.com/MiW9wC5YyW
NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley had already condemned the imagery used by the protesters saying they were meant to intimidate and promote hate. The imagery used in the protest’s publicity was said to have been taken from the 2017 Charlottesville torch rally where white nationalists used Tiki torches.
“Today, outside of the Federal Building, we saw people gather under the guise of protesting COVID-19 measures. Many in attendance then lit torches and proceeded to march around downtown Edmonton. These marches are intended to intimidate, they intend to spread hate,” Notley said in a tweet Feb. 20.
In response to the criticisms, Walk for Freedom posted on Facebook what they believed was their meaning of the torch.
“The torch is a symbol of enlightenment,” the group said. “The Statue of Liberty’s torch lights the way to freedom showing us the path to Liberty. Even the Statue’s official name represents her most important symbol ‘Liberty Enlightening the World.'”