Protest demands Trudeau apology, return to Canadian values

Holding signs calling for equality and Canadian flags, members of Regina’s Asian community gathered at Victoria Park on Sunday afternoon to demand an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Nearly 100 members of Regina's Asian community protested this weekend after false hijab story

Henry Tian addresses a crowd of about 100 people in downtown Regina, who came out to express their frustration with an incident in which a Toronto girl claimed her hijab was cut by an Asian man. The event drew condemnation from political leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but Toronto police say the incident did not happen. (CBC News)

Holding Canadian flags and signs calling for equality, members of Regina's Asian community gathered at Victoria Park on Sunday afternoon to demand an apology from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Ying Zhou, a volunteer with the protest, said it was a first for Regina's Chinese people to gather to protest, but says the amount of people who showed up demonstrates their collective frustration.

"I feel I should stand up to protect Canadian values," he said. "Even Justin Trudeau doesn't do that; we have to do that."

Zhou, and others gathered, took issue with the response to a Toronto girl's claim earlier this month that an Asian man cut her hijab. Her story captured national attention, and drew public condemnation from Trudeau, as well as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory.

After investigating, Toronto Police said the incident did not occur and their investigation had concluded. In a statement, the prime minister said he was relieved that the incident hadn't taken place.

"We are a country that defends freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and people's rights to go to school without being fearful or harassed," he said. "This is fundamental to who we are."

We got condemned. We are thinking this is not fair.- Ying Zhou, protester

But Zhou said no one was held to account, and Trudeau did not walk back on his original statements of sympathy for the girl, and condemnation of the incident.

"We are honest people, we are hard-working people. We got condemned," he said. "We are thinking this is not fair. We want Justin Trudeau, give us justice."

Qian Sun holds a sign taking aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (CBC News)

Henry Tian said he began organizing the event to show solidarity with other friends in major Canadian cities that planned to hold similar protests. He expected only 30 or 40 people to show up in Regina, but was surprised to see so many come out on a chilly Sunday afternoon.

Asian community wants equality, says organizer

"They feel upset about this injustice," Tian said, adding that Trudeau had a responsibility to wait for a full investigation before releasing any statements of sorrow or sympathy.

Protesters chanted calls for "Justice," "Canadian values back," and "fake news," as they demanded Trudeau apologize.

Tian said his goal is to see the Asian community treated equally as all other races in Canada.

"All races live here together as a whole nation — this is my point of Canadian values."