Friday, July 19, 2024
Friday, July 19, 2024
Home » Canada QAnon ‘Queen’ Leaves Village, but She hasn’t gone Far

Canada QAnon ‘Queen’ Leaves Village, but She hasn’t gone Far

by Travis Fox
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After camping out for two months in an old school in a small Canadian village, a self-proclaimed “queen” and her entourage have left for a farm nearby, although villagers are worried they may return.

The presence of the group in Richmound – a village of about 150 people in south-western Saskatchewan – drew a significant police presence, loud protests by locals and at least one arrest.

The group is led by Romana Didulo, a QAnon-inspired conspiracy theorist.

She and her followers have spent the last few years travelling around Canada in motorhomes and other vehicles.

In September, after between 15 and 25 members moved into the former school, villagers held protests, driving around the buildings in their cars and honking their horns.

Village officials repeatedly said they wanted the group out, but were stymied by the fact that the school is privately owned by one of Ms Didulo’s supporters. The current owner of the building and land, Ricky Manz, was arrested and charged with assault during an altercation in October.

The self-proclaimed “Queen of Canada” and her retinue were broadcasting online every day from the school, and last week sharp-eyed villagers noticed a heater propped up on a propane tank in the background of a livestream.

It was a possible fire code violation, which prompted an inspection visit by local officials. The inspectors were turned away, a village spokesperson told the BBC, but within an hour the group was packing up and moving out.

Reports said they initially went east, but they are now thought to be on a farm to the west of the village.

“We’re glad they’re gone, but everyone’s still on edge in case they come back,” said the village spokesperson, who asked not to be identified by name for fear of reprisals from the group.

Ms Didulo and her followers have threatened to execute local officials and have previously issued threats against medical professionals, journalists and others.

A flag belonging to the group was still flying above the school on Tuesday, the spokesperson said.

Experts say the locals’ concerns are justified.

“They are very secretive about what they are doing, but they still care about what’s going on in Richmound and talk about coming back,” says Christine Sarteschi, a professor at Chatham University in Pittsburgh and an expert on extremism who has been studying Ms Didulo’s movement.

“They’re unpredictable at this point… and that unpredictability makes people nervous,” she says.

The ‘Queen of Canada’

Ms Didulo, 48, emigrated from the Philippines to Canada as a teenager. She set up several businesses before forming a fringe political party in 2020.

The group is a peculiarly Canadian offshoot of the sovereign citizen movement – a broad collection of anti-government groups who refuse to pay taxes and make up their own fake legal systems and are sometimes found in the US.

On her most popular Telegram channel she issues decrees to “absolve” her 34,000 followers from bills and debts. The decrees do not have the force of law, however, and several of her followers have lost their homes and vehicles after following her advice.

She also spreads anti-vaccination conspiracy theories and ideas related to QAnon – a wide-ranging, unfounded theory that says former US President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government, business and the media.

Ms Didulo’s group participated in the “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa in early 2022, and last year attempted to arrest police officers in Peterborough, Ontario, accusing them of “crimes against humanity”. Six of her followers were arrested instead.

Richmound Mayor Brad Miller told a local radio station: “It would be great if we could get them right out of Saskatchewan and keep them going.”

Ms Didulo and group members did not reply to messages to emails listed on her Telegram channels.

Source : BBC

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