Thousands gather with messages of love, resistance at anti-racism rally

Anti-racism protesters took over the streets out front Vancouver’s city hall

Messages of love, acceptance and resilience filled the streets surrounding Vancouver’s city hall during an anti-racism rally Saturday.

More than 4,000 anti-racism demonstrators gathered outside the city hall in response to an extreme right wing rally that was planned for Saturday afternoon – one week after racially motivated protests in Charlottesville, Va, turned deadly.

The anti-Islam protest, organized by the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam’s Canadian chapter, as well as the Cultural Action Party of Canada, was expected to include members from the Soldiers of Odin.

But it never materialized, aside from less than a dozen anti-Islam protesters who showed up individually throughout the afternoon. Each time, they were quickly escorted out of the area by police following verbal confrontations with counter demonstrators.

Instead, several activists spoke on the importance of inclusion, support and a need to stand up to bigotry and racism now more than ever.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson told those gathered that the city will not stand for hatred or inequality, but noted work still must be done to spread the message of understanding.

Among the crowd, Surrey resident Karla Lottini stood with her two daughters, Nicte and Ambar Casso, holding a sign that read: “Racism hurts, we are all beautiful” and “kids love kids no matter our color of skin.”

Lottini and her family immigrated to Canada from Mexico as a refugee four years ago. The recent far-right protests in the U.S. – a country who’s president campaigned to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, has hit a nerve for Lottini, she said.

But B.C. isn’t clean of systemic racism either, despite many Canadians taking solace living in a country that boasts its multiculturalism, she said.

“It’s very anachronic to go back to white supremacy,” she said. “This is not just a United States problem.”

Lottini said her daughters have shared stories of racially-motivated bullying at their elementary French-immersion school, and fears the day that discriminatory hate is cast on her children.

“I don’t want my daughters, or the friends of my daughters, to get hurt.”

She brought her daughters to the rally to share how powerful positive messages can be.

“We have to get involved,” she said, “because we’re a mix of cultures and colours and diverse types of lifestyles and we should respect each other. It’s about freedom and love and peace.”

The afternoon-long rally stayed peaceful. Five were arrested for breach of the peace and two were escorted out of the rally to prevent a disturbance, police said in a statement.

With files from the Canadian Press.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Signs of resistance held in a crowd of more than 4,000 demonstrators Saturday. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press)

Man gets escorted out of the rally area by several police officers after giving the Nazi salute. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press)

Just Posted

Premier asks for re-do on Highway 14 study

A study on Highway 14 improvement has been delayed for a second… Continue reading

Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 20th anniversary

Norman Nelson founded the orchestra in 1997

Sooke talk focuses on risk of nuclear war

Discussion and talk held on Nov. 30

Three Sooke students awarded scholarships

Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship program awarded annually to undergraduate students

CF-18 lowered the boom over Saanich Sunday

Plane was arriving in Victoria region from Boise, ID

Victoria’s Gingerbread Showcase on full display

Donate to place a vote for the people’s choice winner and support Habitat For Humanity

Running back propels Spectrum Thunder into first Subway Bowl final

Brandon Robbins scores hat trick of touchdowns

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

B.C. sport groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

B.C. VIEWS: China a better partner than U.S.

B.C. is slowly winning the softwood lumber war

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Most Read