The town of Richmound held a protest Saturday, hoping to prompt a cult led by a woman who has declared herself “Queen of Canada” to leave the southwestern Saskatchewan community.
A group calling itself the “Kingdom of Canada” set up camp in the small village (about 65 kilometers northwest of the town of Maple Creek, near the Saskatchewan-Alberta border) and called for the public execution of elected officials and other members in and around Richmound.
The group held a meet-and-greet with potential new fans and their supporters on Saturday.
Leader Romana Didulo is known as a far-right QAnon conspiracy theorist. She has declared herself “Queen of Canada,” among other titles, including calling herself a national Indigenous leader.
Didulo and some of his followers have been touring the country for some time.
They were expelled from Kamsack, Sask., following a peaceful protest by residents there on Sept. 13. The group then headed to Richmound on September 15 and stayed at the old Richmound School, having been invited by the property. owner Rick Manz.
Manz faces an assault charge after RCMP received a report of assault following an altercation in Richmound last Friday.
On Wednesday, Richmound Mayor Brad Miller shared a post on Facebook inviting people to join the community’s “peaceful protest” on Saturday and Sunday. He urged others to share the post.
“Things continue to escalate and we are desperate for help with another protest rally to prevent conspiracy theorist, cult leader and pretend queen, Romana Didulo, from taking up permanent residence in our city. WE NEED HELP AND NOT!” WE CAN DO THIS ALONE!” the post said.
Miller called on people from surrounding communities to join the demonstration, saying it will be respectful and legal.
Those calls were answered Saturday by leaders of neighboring communities.
Aaron Wenzel, mayor of Leader, Sask., and Sean Checkley, mayor of Fox Valley, came to Richmound in a show of solidarity, along with Doug Steele, a member of the Cypress Hills Legislature.
The MLA and the three mayors held a joint press conference on Saturday, ahead of the planned protest.
“The area is not just, you know, community by community; we are a region and we work very closely and collaboratively with each community,” Fox Valley’s Checkley said.
Many Richmound youth go to school in the Fox Valley, he said, so the communities have close ties.
Recently, the playground in Richmound was closed for safety reasons due to the group’s presence.
“We’re gathered here, I guess, for one thing and one thing only,” Miller said.
“As a Richmound community, I would like to say that we are united as one and our focus is to move it [Didulo] get out of Richmound and hopefully return to the United States.”
Richmound’s mayor said he tried to meet with Didulo to better understand why she was in the village, but she refused.
After a previous protest against the group on Sept. 24, the sect threatened the village administration with “cease and desist” letters, Miller previously said, accusing them of corruption, intimidation and harassment, and calling such behavior “dangerous.” “, “illegal” and “immoral.”
The cult threatened a “publicly broadcast execution” if the village did not follow Didulo’s decrees.
Miller said Saturday that more cease-and-desist letters have been emailed to community members, including him. He also said Didulo’s followers have been walking around taking videos and photographs of residents.
A Richmound resident, whom CBC agreed not to name, said Thursday she is afraid of having Didulo and his followers in town.
“I would really like these people to leave,” the resident said.
“At the same time, I don’t want to see another community have to deal with this. I really don’t. It’s not fun. It’s not fair. Like, who starts posting cease and desist orders and execution lists? How ? Is that something that can happen?”
Miller said Saturday he wants more government intervention to oust Didulo and his followers.
“I think both the provincial government and the federal government should get involved in this so that we don’t have this problem anymore and we can work together.”
RCMP sent a mobile detachment to Richmound on Oct. 6 in response to the group’s presence.
Police say the group does not pose an “imminent threat,” despite issuing threats of public execution.
In a statement emailed to CBC on Friday, the Saskatchewan RCMP said the safety of the Richmound community is a top priority.
“We are aware of potential events scheduled for this weekend. The Saskatchewan RCMP will maintain a 24/7 police presence for the foreseeable future, which will include regular patrols in the community. This will include on Saturday and Sunday,” the RCMP said.
On Saturday morning, the RCMP set up checkpoints on each side of town.
In his Facebook post, Miller encouraged protesters to drive through town on Saturday and Sunday with respectful signs. He encouraged the “troublemakers.”
“We understand that people are very emotional and desperate, but we should not get involved,” Miller said in the post. “We just want to irritate them and let them know that we haven’t given up!!”
The town’s protest was scheduled to continue until 7 pm CST on Saturday and resume from noon to 5 pm CST on Sunday.