Opposing rallies meet outside City Hall Saturday

People gather outside City Hall to stand behind M-103, a motion to condemn Islamophobia. Mike Arsenault/Global News

WINNIPEG — Two groups standing on opposite sides of a motion to condemn Islamophobia gathered in the same spot in Winnipeg Saturday to voice their concerns.

Originally the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens announced a rally at City Hall to oppose M-103, a Private Members’ Motion to condemn Islamophobia, and conduct a study to eliminate systemic racism. After hearing about the rally, an anti-fascist group called FF1-Fascist Free Treaty1, decided to hold a counter rally in the same spot Saturday.

“Any alt-right group that has any hate towards Muslims, any hate towards immigrants, have an anti-refugee message. This is what they have to deal with,” founder of FF1, Omar Kinnarath said.

RELATED: What you need to know about the anti-Islamophobia motion making waves in Ottawa

The front steps of City Hall were filled with hundreds of people saying prayers, and making speeches. The FF1 group continued to chant ‘Peg City Don’t Play’.

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“We thought that only 30 or 40 people would show up,” Kinnarath said. “This is amazing, we’re drawing a line in the sand.”

RELATED: Motion condemning Islamophobia somehow controversial for Conservatives

The founder of The Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens, Georges Hallak said similar rallies have been organized across Canada Saturday. He said the goal is to demonstrate freedom of speech, and pointing out concerns with M-103.

“For me I’m very frustrated with this,” Hallak said. “It’s discriminating all other minorities in Canada.”

He said around 2,000 to 3,000 people in total gathered across the country to oppose M-103.

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