'It disgusts me': Politicians condemn far-right rally planned in Quebec City this weekend
Sunday's rally is organized by far-right group La Meute, which claims that Quebec culture is under threat
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has expressed concern about a demonstration, planned for Sunday in Quebec City, organized by a far-right group opposed to the arrival of asylum seekers.
"We have to always remember that all these forms of extremism feed on one another," Couillard told reporters at the National Assembly Friday.
"We have to realize that of course it's a minority, but [it] can be vocal and can hurt people, too."
The rally is organized by far-right group La Meute, which claims that Quebec culture and society are currently threatened by its diversity.
The premier said he was apprehensive of more extremist groups joining in on the rally and causing violence, in light of the deadly racist violence in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend.
La Meute opposes higher immigration levels and official multiculturalism policies. Though the group says it condemns the use of violence, its members often post Islamophobic and xenophobic comments online.
The group says it suspended one of its members after he was outed for attending a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
'There's no room for that'
Also addressing the far-right rally, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre was unflinching in his criticism Friday, saying "it disgusts me."
"There's no room for that. It's like someone saying, 'I'm not racist, but…'" he said.
An opposing protest is organized to take place at the same time to counter La Meute's and to "fight hate and racism."
Pablo Roy-Rojas, a spokesman for the anti-racist demonstration, said he hopes to show that "we, too, are present in Quebec City."
"[Anti-immigrant groups] are present everywhere, whether it's on social media, on the internet, and in the media — they're spoken about every day," Roy-Rojas told Radio-Canada.
"Our families, our friends are immigrants … We don't tolerate discourse that erases us," he added.
La Meute says rally will be 'silent'
La Meute's co-founder, Patrick Beaudry, insisted the demonstration will be a "silent" one.
"Our message will be on our signs," Beaudry said in an interview with Radio-Canada. "It's almost going to be a military parade."
He addressed the member who was in Virginia last weekend, saying, "We don't have anything to do with that."
Still, Quebec police say they're preparing to "make sure everything happens in the right order."
"We're keeping watch on social media and we also have information coming from organizers, so we're ready for Sunday," said Quebec City police spokesman Const. David Poitras.
with files from Radio-Canada and The Canadian Press