Hundreds attend 'anti-racism' rally outside the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa
Hundreds came out for a peaceful rally outside the American Embassy in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday.
“Say it loud, say it clear, Nazi’s are not welcome here,” chanted demonstrators.
The gathering, a show of solidarity, meant to send a message to U.S. President Donald Trump.
“This has to end,” says American citizen Sam McDargh who has been living in Canada since 2008, “the racism, and the bigotry that has taken off like a cancer out of control in my nation is a disgrace.”
“We must stand-up,” adds McDargh while carrying an American flag on a hockey stick, “frankly I don’t see how there can be healing and reconciliation as long as Trump is in the White House.”
McDargh says the race riots and extremism in the U.S. and around the world is encouraged by the man in the Oval Office.
“Trump is a symptom of the larger problem, when you have someone who gives it a thumbs up and a wink and a nod it just flourishes.”
Rally organizers say the racism, intolerance and bigotry is not just an American problem.
“Canada is not immune,” says the Executive Director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, Ihsaan Gardee, “what we are doing here today is to stand-up and have our voices heard if someone wants to stigmatize and vilify other communities with hatred and bigotry that we won’t stand for it as Canadians.”
Gardee says research shows there are more than a hundred organized right-wing extremist groups operating in Canada.
“We’ve seen it here, we’ve seen it manifested here with deadly consequences as well, with the recent terrorist shootings in Quebec City,” adds Gardee.
In Ottawa, an 18-year old man will be sentenced next week after a week-long spray-painting racist graffiti spree last November.
“It’s frightening,” says Ottawa Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton, “it’s hard to understand it’s come to this.”
“In the face of those who hate Jews and hate Black and Brown people, and hate Queer People, we will not remain silent,” Rabbi Bolton told the crowd.
The protestors then marched by the U.S. Embassy, many with a message of hope.
“It has to get worse before it gets better,” says Khalid Shoukri, “we have to confront the heated debates in order to find a solution or else we’re just repeating the mistakes of the past.”