Hundreds rally against anti-anglo discrimination
Hundreds of demonstrators turned up at Place du Canada Sunday afternoon for what was billed as a 'Canadian Unity Rally Against Discrimination'.
When the idea for the rally was conceived, organizers were hoping just to return the Canadian flag to the National Assembly, shortly after the new Parti Québécois government had it taken out.
But rally co-organizer Jimmy Kalafatidis says the message broadened in light of the PQ's plans to bring in stronger language laws, and some recent well-publicized incidences of anti-English sentiment, including some involving STM employees, and the case of the ambulance technician in Hudson who refused to provide care in English.
"[We're denouncing] the escalation of anti-English sentiment that's happening at the street level," Kalafatidis says. "We want the politicians to denounce all these activities, we want the prime minister of Canada to denounce all this intolerance."
"When you have a government that seeks to demonize, and marginalize and wins an election on messages of nullification, on metaphors of segregation, they have a responsibility for causing the worst of us, the most frustrated of us, to beat up a teenage kid in St. Leonard," Suburban editor-in-chief Beryl Wajsman told the crowd. "They have a responsibility for the ticket-takers that get a customer into a headlock. They have a responsibility for a paramedic that will not speak English"
A small group of separatist counter-demonstrators turned up, and there were brief shouting matches before police were called in to separate them.
Photo: courtesy Beryl Wajsman