CALGARY -- Violence erupted at a 'White Power' march by Aryan Guard members downtown yesterday, leaving two people with head injuries after they were struck by flying debris.
As the neo-Nazi group of a few dozen exchanged expletives and scuffled with several hundred anti-racist protesters, police stood between the warring sides and ultimately arrested three people with charges pending.
Cops escorted about 30 Aryan Guard members celebrating White Pride World Day from the march they claimed was to promote remembrance of their European culture and heritage.
Anti-racist groups were angered police prevented them from getting closer to the group of neo-Nazis.
"Stop protecting racists," they screamed at officers.
The raucous encounter spilled onto 7 Ave. and 6 St. S.W., where cops surrounded the Aryans who were closely followed by swarms of anti-racist protesters.
As the clash heated up, water bottles, snow and placards rained down on the white-power group.
Sun columnist Rick Bell was hit by a flying placard that cut his head open.
By 10 a.m., about 100 anti-racism activists converged in front of city hall to protest the Aryans' display of white pride, which coincided with the International Day to Eliminate Racism.
Motorists along Macleod Tr. honked their horns as flag-waving protesters chanted "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Aryan Guard go away!"
Many carried placards that read: "No races only humans," "Apathy spreads ignorance" and "Hate not welcome here."
Jason Devine, a spokesman for the Anti-Racist Action Calgary, said the Aryans need to be exposed and ignoring them sends the wrong message to the public.
"Today's action won't get rid of the Aryan Guard, but it definitely is a blow to them," he said. Just after 3 p.m., several hundred anti-racist activists marched along Stephen Avenue onto 7 Ave. S.W. and 6 St. S.W,. chanting their slogans.
The Aryan Guard marched from the Mewata Armoury to the downtown core.
Police stopped traffic at various intersections downtown allowing marchers to proceed.
Aryan Guard supporters Kelsey, 15, and Meghan, 18, who declined to give their last names, said they're not racists.
"I like being white and I think they take it the wrong way," said Kelsey, wearing a black scarf around her neck emblazoned with a white circle and cross in the middle.
Police estimate 500 people were part of yesterday's protest.