A group of Londoners is fighting back against the recent rise of anti-immigrant sentiment in the city by handing out free lawn signs with the message "all are welcome here."

The signs were handed out Wednesday at downtown London's Covent Garden Market.

Huda Hussein, who works as a project coordinator for the London and Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership, told CBC News Wednesday that the free lawn signs are a push back against recent anti-Islam rallies in the city.

"We want to have that conversation so that people think about this is a country of immigration and we are all striving to create a more welcoming community in the region," she said. 

HOW TO GET A FREE LAWN SIGN:

  • London Middlesex Local Immigartion Partnership: Maria D'Souza, mariad@lmlip.ca ; 519-663-0551 ext 240
  • London Cross Cultural Learner Centre: Suzanne La Rose, slarose@lcclc.org; 519-432-1133
  • LUSO Community Centre, Jacob Winter, jacob@lusocentre.org; 519-452-1466
  • South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre, Mohamed Al-Adeimi, MAlAdeimi@slnrc.ca; 519-686-8600 ext 7029

Hundreds of people turned out at London City Hall in August in two opposing protests, that pitted anti-Islam protesters in an, at times, tense shouting match against counter demonstrators. 

Hussein said the free signs are a perfect time to address the problems that fuelled the protests earlier this summer. 

"Come and talk to us about it," she said. "If you don't talk about it, then you never solve the problem. So if there is a problem in London, it's time to talk about it."

The city has printed a total of 1,000 signs and has so far given away about 500. If the signs run out, the city is prepared to print at least 1,000 more, Hussein said. 

Organizers said they hope to see the signs on as many lawns as possible as a show of solidarity by the community in the face of a more vocal presence by extreme right-wing groups.  

The signs are available free at the Convent Garden Market Wednesday. Anyone who can't make it, but still wants a free sign is encouraged to call the LMLIP.

The LMLIP said the free signs are the prelude to a wider social media campaign called "1,000 Acts of Welcome" that it intends to launch in the New Year.