Clashes erupted between police and dozens of anti-racist activists on the sidelines of a pro-immigration rally in Quebec City, while a demonstration organised by extreme-right activists gained little traction. A few hundred people gathered in Quebec City’s center yesterday to counter-protest a planned far-right rally, supporters of which spent much of the day stuck in a parking lot.
In a bid to keep the two rallies apart, police erected a security cordon but declared the anti-racist demonstration illegal after sporadic clashes broke out and hooded individuals threw projectiles at police. “Given acts of violence and vandalism, this demonstration is illegal,” tweeted the Quebec police, adding that one protester had been arrested.
The counter-demonstration was organized in response to a rally planned by La Meute, a far-right, anti-immigration group. The group called on Quebec residents to demand from the government “sovereignty” of borders. In addition to 40,000 refugees Canada has accepted since the end of 2015, many migrants have fled north across the US-Canada border since the swearing-in of President Donald Trump, who espouses hardline immigration views.
In the first half of 2017 some 6,500 asylum seekers entered Canada. Approximately 7,000 have entered the North American country via Quebec since early July, about 6,000 of them Haitians. They face expulsion from the United States at the end of the year, when temporary asylum granted to 60,000 Haitians affected by a devastating 2010 earthquake is due to expire.