'Say no to hate': Hundreds at Toronto rally decry racial violence in Charlottesville attack
Demonstrators, many American citizens, gathered at the U.S. Consulate Monday to protest white supremacists
More than a hundred people gathered outside Toronto's U.S. consulate on Monday morning with signs to decry the violent attack in Charlottesville, Va., that left a woman dead and nearly 20 injured, at a counter-protest to a white nationalist rally.
People held signs and chanted phrases condemning racism as they stood opposite the American consulate downtown to express their opposition to what has been described as one of the largest supremacist rallies in recent U.S. history.
"No hate, no fear. Fascists aren't welcomed here," members of the group chanted at one point.
On Saturday, Heather Heyer, 32, was in Charlottesville, Va., with her friends to take a stand against white supremacists, authorities say, when she was killed by a grey sports car that rammed full speed into a line of counter-protesters.
James Alex Fields, 20, of Ohio, remains in custody on suspicion of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and a single count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident. The U.S. Justice Department pressed its own federal hate-crime investigation of the incident.
The fatal disturbance began with neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) sympathizers protesting against plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, the commander of rebel forces during the U.S. Civil War, in the Virginia college town. It erupted into violence.
- Bodies sent 'flying in every direction' in Charlottesville attack
'We needed to say something'
In Toronto, protesters flew the American flag upside down, while one woman distributed T-shirts with the slogan "Toronto loves everybody" as an act of togetherness.
Donna Gabaccia, a professor of history at the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus and organizer of the demonstration, told CBC Toronto many demonstrators are U.S. citizens who are voicing their dissent.
"We felt as U.S. citizens — and as opponents of racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia — we needed to say something and we thought the consulate was the appropriate place since the consulate is the public face of the U.S. in Toronto," she said.
Jesse-Blue Forrest, who lives in Toronto but is from a community near Charlottesville, said he came out to the rally to let people know that violence is not the norm in the American city. At the same time, this past weekend's events didn't just happen spontaneously, he said.
"It's been brewing for a long time," Forrest said. "I really do not want to see that cancer in the United States spreading here in Canada."
A vigil was held in Toronto Sunday night to remember the victims.
With files from Natalie Nanowski and the Canadian Press