Politicians Denounce Far-Right Group Atalante's Invasion of VICE Office
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an "alarming" incident.
This article originally appeared on VICE Quebec.
National and provincial politicians are speaking out against the actions of Atalante, whose members stormed into VICE's Montreal offices on Wednesday afternoon.
"We must condemn the action and the intimidation, especially in this case towards journalists. We have the right and the duty to answer this nonsense. What these people have done is to undermine freedom of expression," Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said during a press briefing at the C2 Montréal conference on Thursday morning.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said "the incursion into VICE's offices yesterday is something I find alarming and it is an example of intimidation of the media that is absolutely unacceptable."
Several media outlets and journalists have also denounced the intrusion of the anti-immigration group in our offices. Patrick Lagacé, from the daily La Presse, recalled that in September 2000, a member of the Hells Angels attacked journalist Michel Auger, who was covering the organized crime war. The President of the Quebec Federation of Journalists, Stéphane Giroux, saw an attempt at censorship by Atalante: "This is a new step that has been taken, and that worries us a lot. "
Around 4:00 pm on Wednesday, members of the ultra-nationalist group Atalante burst into VICE's Montreal office. After an employee opened the door to a man holding a bouquet of flowers, a delegation of six or seven men, all masked except one, entered playing The Price is Right theme song on a bluetooth speaker. They then walked around the newsroom, throwing clown noses and hundreds of leaflets all over the place. The leaflet featured a quote attributed to Napoleon: the word vice was replaced by the logo of VICE, handled by expert hands using MS Paint.
They specifically tried to intimidate the journalist Simon Coutu—who has reported about the group—gathering around his desk to give him a trophy, which read "VICE media trash 2018."
Raphaël Lévesque, who goes by Raf Stomper, used the visit to thank Coutu on behalf of "all the victims of the war that you are trying to start."
The group was reacting to an article published last week about the incursions of Atalanta in Montreal that are becoming more frequent.