U of T student club, Students in Support of Free Speech (SSFS), have claimed that a member of theirs was harassed by 15 individuals during a trip to Montreal in late July.
In a Facebook Live video posted on July 29, SSFS President Mari Jang alleged that Concordia University student Oliver Marshall — who had planned to meet with SSFS about starting a SSFS chapter at Concordia — was harassed by a group of unknown individuals outside Les 3 Brasseurs, a restaurant in Montréal, during an SSFS pub night.
Chad Hallman, Public Relations Officer of the SSFS, claims that the individuals encircled Marshall, pushed him around, called him a Nazi, ripped his bag, and then chased him as he ran to a nearby police station.
“These people were keeping track of the SSFS Montréal pub night event page,” claimed Jang. She claimed they had “studied the names and faces of all the people who were marked as ‘going’” to the event, and addressed Marshall by name.
Marshall filed a police report the same night. He believes that the 15-member group were affiliated with the “Antifa,” a political movement of self-described anti-fascists, but added that he has no concrete evidence to back this up.
Hallman believes that the group has a connection to a political advocacy group on Facebook called ‘Against Your Ward News – Against Far-Right Scum.’
When asked by The Varsity, the Facebook group denied any connection to the incident, adding, “The SSFS people aren’t too bright.”
Against Your Ward News uploaded a photo (pictured above) of SSFS members in the police station to Facebook alongside a lengthy text caption outlining the events of the evening. They claim that the photo and text were taken from a post that was shared widely by left-leaning political advocacy groups in Quebec.
Against Your Ward News also said that the text was later turned into an article on ‘itsgoingdown.org,’ a “digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements,” according to the website. Part of the text on the website, which had no listed author, noted that the information came from a “personal report from one observer and participant in today’s anti-racist action.”
“Clearly what happened in Montréal was an act of political intimidation against our group which holds dissenting views to the mainstream far left narrative,” said Hallman. “They don’t make us afraid, and they don’t make us want to stop what we’re doing. They only make us more passionate.”