In a two-sided affair, Syrian-Canadians showed both support for and opposition to Bashar al-Assad, the ruler of Syria. The two parties rallied on the corner of de Maisonneuve and Guy, the heart of the Concordia ghetto. The pro-regime supporters gathered in front of the Tim Hortons, while the anti-government protesters gathered across the street in front of the Java U. Al-Assad’s supporters were far greater in number and consequently much louder. The anti-government protesters stood there for nearly three hours in silence, symbolizing what they feel is an oppressive regime.
Wednesday’s Montreal protest echoes a wave of demonstrations in Syria calling for Al-Assad to step down. The same day, Al-Assad dismissed his cabinet in an attempt to appease the protesters. The Syrian leader had previously promised to relinquish his position. Al-Assad assumed the presidency in 2000, before which his father Hafez enjoyed a 29 year reign over the Middle Eastern country. Photo by Navneet Pall