Indian-origin Activist Held During Quebec Protests
Montreal-based activist Jaggi Singh was part of counter-protests against Le Meute, a far right wing group, in Quebec.
A week after the rally at Charlottesville in Virginia, United States, race-related agitation came to the forefront in the neighbouring country of Canada on August 20. The demonstration at Quebec City led to the arrest of Indian origin activist Jaggi Singh.
A far right group called Le Meute (Wolf Pack), who carried black flags with wolf paws on them, had planned to protest outside the Provincial National Assembly in the Canadian city against what they called illegal immigration. Antifa, the group which was part of the counter-protest, turned violent and their demonstration was called “illegal” by the local police.
Le Meute members were blocked from going forward and they stayed in a parking garage for more than four hours. The counter-protesters were, in the meanwhile, seen tossing flares, throwing fireworks and chairs — sometimes even at the police. Dumpsters were also set on fire.
The police responded to the violence with pepper spray. They also arrested Montreal-based activist Jaggi Singh after he was caught trying to push through the police line. Singh is a prominent social justice activist in Canada. He had told Canada’s CTV News earlier that Le Meute’s message “needs to be confronted”. The counter-protests ended with the police repelling protesters with shields and pepper spray.
Once things calmed down, Le Meute emerged from their hiding eventually to march peacefully down the streets of Quebec City. They called their protest a “success”.
While Mayor Regis Labeaume of Quebec City thanked the protesters for cooperating with the police, he also asked them to protest elsewhere. “Their world doesn’t interest us,” he was quoted as saying by Montreal Gazette.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the protest, calling them “intolerant, racist demonstrations” in a news conference held jointly with Ireland’s Indian-origin Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. He went on to say: “The small minority, angry, frustrated group of racists don’t get to define who we are as a country, don’t get to tell others who we are and don’t get to change the nature of the open, accepting values that make us who we are.”
He added: “I am proud to stand with millions of Canadians who reject the hateful, harmful, heinous ideologies that we’ve seen in dark corners of both the internet and our communities from time to time.”
Two members of Le Meute were also seen at the rally in Charlottesville, according to CBC News.
Another anti-immigration protest was held in Vancouver on August 19. More demonstrations along the same vein are planned in other Canadian cities. These protests are in response to the recent surge in people crossing the border from the US to Canada. Trudeau had assured Canadians regarding the recent surge: “Canadians can be confident in the integrity of our borders, in the strength and rigour of our immigration system.”