A Calgary man has been arrested after he caused a disturbance at an all-candidates' debate while wearing a mask made of a confederate flag and reportedly saying he was "against the niqab."
Wayne Joseph Fillo, 66, told organizers at the Thursday event for the Calgary Rocky Ridge that he was there to make a point about the niqab, and allegedly threatened that "someone could get hurt," police spokesman Kevin Brookwell told the Calgary Herald.
Jeff Clemens, who was attending the debate, told CBC News that when he asked the "hostile" man why he was causing a fuss at the door, the man replied, "I'm against the niqab."
The man was escorted out of the Tuscany Club by staff, who then called 911. He was discovered by police in a nearby parked vehicle and taken into custody.
"We all felt very scared," Liberal candidate Nirmala Naidoo told Global News. "This was a place where people came to get information about all the candidates. It’s a place where families were."
The former TV anchor wrote in a Facebook statement that she believes she was the intended target of the man's attention as she is an outspoken supporter of a Muslim woman's right to wear the niqab.
Police locked down the venue but most of the 300 people at the event were not aware of the situation until they left and saw police cars outside, she said. Naidoo said she was offered a police escort to her car to ensure that she left the event safely.
Fillo has been charged with uttering threats, and wearing a disguise with intent.
"Given the nature of these allegations, our hate crime co-ordinator will be having a look at this file," Brookwell said to CBC.
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