TORONTO (Jul. 5)
Neo-Nazis burned a cross Ku Klux Klan-style in an Ontario vacation area Saturday, while scores of Jews and non-Jews protested nearby. Watchful police kept the two groups apart.
A 30-foot-high cross was set aflame in a Canada Day “celebration” convened by John Beattie, 48, on his rented property near Minden, a summer cottage area 150 miles north of Toronto.
About 70 Skinheads and white supremacists chanted, “Sieg Heil” and “White Power.”
They came by bus from Quebec and in cars bearing license plates from New York, New Jersey and Ontario.
The outing on Canada’s national holiday was dubbed the “Save Our Canada Festival.” It was supposed to last for two days.
About 10 young thugs, many armed with billy clubs and knives, kept reporters and other outsiders from entering Beattie’s “holiday camp.”
Members of B’nai Brith Canada lodges and chapters, including Holocaust survivors, arrived by bus from Toronto to stage counterdemonstrations. About 60 marched through Minden, bearing placards that read “Never Again.”
They were joined by members of the local chapter of the Canadian Legion, the war veterans organization. Beattie is a member of the legion, but he may be ousted.
The mayor and citizens of Minden, the local newspaper and the minister of the United Church repudiated the neo-Nazis. Most townspeople said they were not aware that Beattie lived nearby.
He led a neo-Nazi gang in Toronto in the mid-1960s and was a weekly soap-box orator in Allen Gardens, a downtown park. He was convicted of conspiracy and served a six-month jail sentence.
Beattie laid low for more than a decade before resurfacing in Minden, where his wife is employed as a nurse.
He calls his new organization the “British People’s Progressive League.”