Protesters hold far right accountable for controversial executive orders
“Immigrants in, fascists out!” chanted the crowd of protesters gathered in Norman Bethune Square in unison. “Refugees in, racists out!”
The band of protesters shouted these phrases, which have been echoing more frequently in downtown Montreal since U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Around noon on Jan. 28, a small group of people from different media outlets formed in Norman Bethune Square on Concordia’s downtown campus. They gathered around “Resist Trump” protest organizers, who were handing out signs and inviting passersby to partake in the demonstration. Within about ten minutes, the crowd had grown to about 20 protesters.
“We must send every brick of Trump’s wall toppling down onto the American imperial apparatus,” said Eamon Toohey, one of the event organizers within the Resist Trump movement and a Concordia student.
“We must build solidarity cities—networks of resistance, a united front against the rise of the far-right,” said Toohey, as he encouraged all who are against the far-right movement to actively resist it.
“The United States is not a safe country—neither is Canada for that matter, so long as these borders remain closed,” Toohey told the crowd, as a few more participants joined to view the demonstration. “The only justice for migrants, for refugees, is free, open and autonomous passage.”
Trump’s executive order prohibits citizens carrying passports from either Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya from entering the U.S. for 90 days, according to New York Times. The executive order was a central focus motivating the demonstration.
“What’s promising to be passed is an attack on migrants and refugees that we haven’t seen since around the time of the Second World War, when the Japanese were interned in the United States,” said Jaggi Singh, the programming and working groups coordinator for The Québec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) Concordia.
“The demo was called on short notice and in reaction to some of the policies that are being announced,” said Stacey Gomez, a participant in the demonstration. “It was important to have this demo even though it was small.”
Gomez said, although there was not a large group of people at this event, she feels Montréalers’ motivation to resist Trump is not dying.
“It’s important for us to demonstrate our solidarity with communities in the U.S. that are going to be most impacted by Trump,” said Gomez.
“I think I can relatively safely state that America isn’t free, not by a long shot,” Toohey told The Concordian. “Its prison system is a complete abomination, and it’s founded on an intersection of oppressions that it needs to survive,” Toohey said, explaining that there have been issues ingrained in America’s society and politics even before Trump took office.
“I think [Trump’s] presidency has mobilized a lot of racist sentiment and brought it to the forefront,” Toohey told The Concordian. Once it’s been brought there, he added, it’s dangerous that it may be normalized far beyond the current state.
“We can’t afford to ignore it, or else we risk it being further woven into the fabric of American society,” said Toohey.
“We need to do away with borders entirely and allow migrants full autonomy of movement,” said Toohey. “Otherwise, yes, we are ignoring the role they have played in building a world which is still actively hostile to them.”
“No Trump, no KKK, no fascists, U.S.A,” protesters chanted in unison as the demonstration came to a close.
For more information on the Resist Trump movement, visit www.resistrump.ca.