Thousands gather across the country to protest against Islamophobia
Protesters in Toronto assemble in front of U.S. consulate drumming, chanting, holding signs
Thousands of people have gathered in downtown Toronto to protest against Islamophobia in front of the U.S. consulate, with similar demonstrations taking place across the country in Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver and across the Maritimes.
Organizers of the protest on Saturday say they want the Canadian government to condemn a controversial executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump that bans citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. That message was reflected on Saturday with protesters drumming, chanting and holding signs to show their opposition to Trump's policies.
- Trump says ruling against travel ban will be overturned
- Hundreds of Montrealers march against Islamophobia
- Hundreds gather in Ottawa to protest against Islamophobia
On Friday in Seattle, U.S. District Judge James Robart ordered a halt "on a nationwide basis" to enforcement of the ban. In response, Trump said the temporary restraining order would be overturned.
VIDEO of protest in Toronto. It's becoming more energetic here. Palpable. These people want their voices heard. <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCToronto">@CBCToronto</a> <a href="https://t.co/LxPJd1n72q">pic.twitter.com/LxPJd1n72q</a>—@Devin_Heroux
Organizers of the protest said in a Facebook post that they want the repeal of the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, a 2004 pact that requires asylum-seekers to apply for refugee status in the first "safe" country in which they arrive.
"Canada must end racist, anti-refugee, anti-black, Islamophobic exclusion of migrants and refugees," the post reads.
And they said they want an end to the federal system of immigration detention, which they say is imprisonment of migrants without charges or trial.
In Toronto, police closed University Avenue from Dundas Street West to Queen Street West for the demonstration.
Police also said they detained a man on Saturday who was shouting at the protesters, but he will be released later in the day without being charged. He was being held at Toronto Police Service's 52 Division.
"We detained him for his own safety," Const. Victor Kwong said.
Islamophobia refers to a hostility or dislike toward Muslims. Some say the word can be applied to attacks on Muslims as well.
The protest comes just under a week after an attack on a mosque in Quebec City that left six people dead. The mosque reopened for prayers on Saturday, six days after the shooting.
Crowds streaming non stop down University Ave in Toronto Islamophobia, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Trump?src=hash">#Trump</a> travel ban protest <a href="https://t.co/UzakG6RzUB">pic.twitter.com/UzakG6RzUB</a>—@nicireland_news
UPDATE: 505 Dundas diverting both ways via Bathurst, College, Church, due to a Protest on University Avenue. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TTC?src=hash">#TTC</a>—@TTCnotices
Police just handcuffed a man and took him away from the protest after he shouted "Canadians against Islamization" <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCToronto">@CBCToronto</a> <a href="https://t.co/1T1VSDf5ZO">pic.twitter.com/1T1VSDf5ZO</a>—@Devin_Heroux