An elderly woman issued a response to the masked anti-fascist activists who were caught on video Sunday harassing her as she attempted to push her walker across a street in Ontario, Canada.
David Turkoski, the woman’s son and owner of an Ontario martial arts academy, tweeted out her video statement on Tuesday.
My mom prevented from going into a free speech lecture by thugs in Hamilton Ontario Sunday . pic.twitter.com/pAAkrTEUq3
— David Turkoski (@DTurkoski) October 1, 2019
“My mom prevented from going into a free speech lecture by thugs in Hamilton Ontario Sunday,” Turkoski said in a caption accompanying the video, which has already racked up more than 700,000 views.
“Free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy, and can never, and will never, be denied,” she says in the nine second-long clip.
The woman’s response was shared widely on social media, with Blaze TV host Lauren Chen dubbing her “Based Nana.”
Turkoski also posted a response from his mother’s husband, who said he and his wife were pushed and shoved while “exercising their freedom of rights” by attempting to hear out what protesters were saying.
— David Turkoski (@DTurkoski) October 2, 2019
“This is Canada. We were born and raised here. And I just don’t understand why this should happen in this country we love,” he says in the video.
The protest that started it all
The activists who harassed the elderly couple were protesting outside of a planned event at Hamilton’s Mohawk College featuring YouTuber Dave Rubin and People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier discussing free speech. At one point, the demonstration turned violent; protesters clashed with supporters and attendees of the event. Police said they arrested and later released four people.
In a video, which has been viewed more than 1 million times on Twitter, four masked anti-fascists are seen preventing the white-haired woman and her husband from traversing a crosswalk. They loudly chant at the pair: “Nazi scum, off our streets.”
The man appears to lean forward and say something to one of the protesters, a woman with a red bandana covering her face. She responds by screaming, “Don’t f—ing touch me! Don’t f—ing touch me!”
The Post Millennial and number of Twitter users said that activists associated with antifa, a loose-knit and sometimes-violent anti-fascist network, were among the protesters. But Pluralist was unable to immediately verify the claims.
Video recorded on Sunday by the Hamilton Spectator in Ontario, Canada shows masked antifa militants attacking the public, interfering in arrests & harassing the elderly. They amassed outside Mohawk College to try & shut down @RubinReport & conservative politician @MaximeBernier. pic.twitter.com/OgrFnehB7F
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) September 30, 2019
Why masked anti-fascists harassed “Based Nana”
Mohawk College had faced pressure to cancel the event, with critics accusing it of giving a platform to hate speech. Similar campaigns have derailed a number of conservative events on U.S. college campuses, raising concerns about censorship.
Rubin, an online talk show host and self-described “classical liberal,” last week warned that the event was likely do be canceled due to “threats from Antifa.” But he later said the event was going ahead.
It appears that my event with @MaximeBernier on September 29th has been cancelled due to threats from Antifa and this insane piece in the local paper. The school is now demanding 10 times the original security costs and could demand more before showtime: https://t.co/AMbgX9qyX7 pic.twitter.com/Iry2sb7bfV
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) September 26, 2019
Ron McKerlie, the president of Mohawk College, tweeted the previous week: “All Colleges and Universities are covered by a government mandated Freedom of Speech policy that requires us to provide opportunity for anyone to express their views.”
“The event in question involves a member of a federal political party that is recognized in the national discourse,” he added, referring to Bernier, a former Conservative Party minister who last year announced the launch of the right-wing populist People’s Party.
Bernier has denounced “mass immigration” and “extreme multiculturalism,” and has promised to dramatically reduce the number of immigrants admitted to Canada, saying the country should look after its own citizens first.
Attendees at the talk Sunday gave him a standing ovation as he arrived.