By Mansoor Tanweer and Maggie Macintosh
Hundreds of protesters braved the rain and gathered outside the provincial legislature at Queen’s Park on Sunday to rally against white supremacy.
The Unity Rally to End White Supremacy in Toronto was formed in response to hate groups becoming more active around the world. Organizers also cited racist policies here in Canada as reasons for the protest, including the recent revelation that the RCMP screened Quebec border crossers based on religious beliefs.
Sandra Hudson, an organizer from Black Lives Matter, gave a speech that took the federal government to task over racism in Canada.
“I’m not just talking about uprisings like Charlottesville or the rallies in Peterborough and Quebec City,” said Hudson. “I’m talking about the Justin Trudeau government talking out of one side of their mouths when it comes to refugees and treating black Haitians and Somalis seeking refuge in Canada entirely different from what he says he’s going to do.”
Also in attendance was OCAD University student Kathleen Trytten who came to the demonstration dressed in a Captain America costume. She said her reason for dressing like the first avenger was purely a historical one.
“Captain America was created by two Jewish writers to fight Nazis, so I figured it was appropriate. (Nazis) are trying to come back. They’ve found that we’ve weakened our resolve,” said Trytten.
Former Ryerson student Marco La Grotta is with Fightback at Ryerson, a marxist group on campus. He said he believes that a show of force against white supremacists and more events like these are needed.
“It’s only a first step. We need tens of thousands to mobilize in the streets of Toronto if we want to send these racists packing. They need to feel they’re not welcome here,” said La Grotta.
Last August, protesters marched against a white supremacist rally in Boston. He said he saw this as an example for similar movements in Toronto.
“Tens of thousands of ordinary people mobilized to shut down a puny, pathetic rally of the far right and a whole number of far right events were cancelled across the U.S. after that. We need that kind of mobilization in Toronto,” said La Grotta.