When Dawson Creek took back the night, the Soldiers of Odin were marching along, through the streets of Mile Zero.
A handful of citizens afraid to give their name, speaking out of concern and under anonymity, asked why their attendance was needed, asked for, or required.
“They were even given a shout out by organizers. I left disgusted,” said one mother to the Mirror as we first received unsubstantiated reports of an appearance in DC at last month's Take Back the Night walk.
One reader and area resident noted the closest chapter is in Grande Prairie.
Billed as a “street patrol fraternity group,” the group’s promotion notes the “Soldiers of Odin (are) a Pro-Canadian charitable non-profit organization in Alberta, with an eye on the community and helping hands for those in need.”
A handful of posts show the group at various functions, and patrolling Grande Prairie streets.
“Our patrol in Patterson Neighbourhood Last Night. We are putting those on notice that live to take advantage of hard working Canadians and those that sell drugs to kids!! We are not going anywhere!”
When asked why they were patrolling in one location in Grande Prairie, it was noted because “a lot of drugs and untrustworthy” people were in the area.
When asked about the Soldiers of Odin in Dawson Creek, mayor Dale Bumstead said he was unfamiliar with the group.
"I don’t know anything about these soldiers of Odin,” he said
“I do believe everyone always is concerned with public safety.”
The group has also been noted to have helped clean off graffiti off vandalized grave memorials, and other community-building initiatives.
Traditionally, the Soldiers of Odin is known as an anti-immigrant group founded in Kemi, Finland, in October 2015. The SOO has denied claims of being a racist or neo-Nazi group in interviews and on their public Facebook page. However, according to the Finnish public broadcaster Yle, a private Facebook page for certain members of SOO shows racism and Nazi sympathies are high among top members. The group’s nature has raised concerns of anti-immigrant vigilantism.
“I can’t take an event serious when the Soldiers of Odin are marching along side elected officials, political candidates, and various non-profits claiming to be for safety, inclusion of immigrants, those new to Canada, and the region,” said one man noting he saw the Soldiers marched in last year’s Take Back the Night walk as well.
The is a developing story and will be updated.