2 arrested in Abram-Village immigrant attack incident

·2 min read
The incident happened in the parking lot of the Évangéline Recreation Centre in Abram-Village. (Gabrielle Drumond/Radio-Canada - image credit)
The incident happened in the parking lot of the Évangéline Recreation Centre in Abram-Village. (Gabrielle Drumond/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Two people have been arrested in connection with what's been described as a racially-motivated attack in western P.E.I. on Saturday.

RCMP Cpl. Nick Doyle confirmed on Thursday morning that the arrests of two men, one 24 and one 28, were made on Wednesday.

"They were both arrested yesterday and were later released from custody," said Doyle. "It's an ongoing investigation, but, yeah, we anticipate at least one more arrest."

No charges have yet been laid, he said. Charges related to assault and mischief are anticipated.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, following a dance in Abram-Village held as part of a four-day Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival, five people were involved in an incident that sent two people to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, say RCMP.

The Coopérative d'intégration francophone de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard, which provides assistance to French-speaking immigrants to P.E.I., has condemned the incident as being racially motivated.

These acts of violence do not reflect at all the vision and values of the Acadian and francophone community of the Evangeline region. — Edgar Arsenault

"We are relieved that we can move on to next steps and grieving for everyone involved," said the organization's director, Angie Cormier, upon hearing the news of the arrests.

Premier Dennis King, Opposition Leader Peter Bevan-Baker and local MLA Sonny Gallant have all issued statements expressing outrage.

Vow to 'fight against these behaviours'

The Société acadienne et francophone de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard, a group representing P.E.I.'s Acadian and francophone community, also issued a statement Thursday condemning the attacks.

"These acts are absolutely unacceptable and as president of SAF'Île, I offer my personal commitment to fight against these behaviours so that it does not happen again," said Edgar Arsenault.

"We are shocked by what happened and it is important to emphasize that these acts of violence do not reflect at all the vision and values of the Acadian and francophone community of the Evangeline region or of Prince Edward Island."

Arsenault suggested an ongoing conversation is needed on P.E.I. about the barriers to inclusion and integration for immigrants.

"We want the success of the immigrants who settle here, so let's make a commitment, together, to do the work necessary to make everyone feel welcome and know they have a place in our community, just as every Islander does.," he said.

At this stage of the investigation, said Doyle, it is too early to speculate on the motivation of the two men, adding that racism has no place in the P.E.I. community.

RCMP are still looking for witnesses, and Doyle urged anyone with information, and in particular video of the incident, to come forward.