Protesters call for Trudeau apology

Hundreds of protesters — including some associated with a pair of far-right groups — rallied on Parliament Hill Sunday afternoon to demand an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Groups demand apology from Justin Trudeau over hijab story remarks

Members of the Chinese-Canadian community attend a rally on Parliament Hill on Feb. 18, 2018. (Radio-Canada)

Hundreds of protesters — including some associated with a pair of far-right groups — rallied on Parliament Hill Sunday afternoon to demand an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The protesters wanted Trudeau to apologize for denouncing an alleged attack last month on an 11-year-old girl in Toronto, who claimed a man tried twice to cut off her hijab as she walked to school.

Toronto police investigated and later concluded the attack did not take place.

"We were hurt, we were upset," said Monica Mo, who was attending Sunday's rally.

The initial reports suggested the alleged attacker was Asian, and Mo told Radio-Canada that Trudeau's remarks left the Chinese-Canadian community feeling unfairly tarred.

"We want to send a message to society: we are strong, we are united, we are together. We are all Canadians. All Canadian ethnic groups are equal," she said.

Hundreds of people — including many from far-right groups La Meute and Storm Alliance — protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 18, 2018. (Radio-Canada)

La Meute, Storm Alliance attend protest

Some of those who protested Sunday wore regalia associated with La Meute, otherwise known as Wolf Pack — a far-right group which believes current immigration and multicultural policies threaten the fabric of Quebec society.

Others were associated with a second group called Storm Alliance, which identifies as "ultranationalist" but also claims to eschew ties to far-right white nationalists.

"We are always treated as extreme right, as racist ... and today, it was the best way to show it to the world [that we aren't]," said Éric Trudel, Storm Alliance's provincial president, in a French-language interview with Radio-Canada.

"We are with all Canadians, no matter the colour, no matter where they come from."

Trudeau initially said he wanted the girl and her family to know that the assault was "not what Canada is." He later said he was relieved to learn it never happened.

Monday, the RCMP said four people were arrested and released under trespass notices, which ban them from Parliament Hill for a certain period of time.