Vancouver joins 100s of cities rallying against gun violence
Thousands of students, parents and supporters packed the streets of Washington D.C. on Saturday in a rally against gun violence.
The “March for Our Lives” is being replicated in more than 830 cities around the world, including Vancouver.
WATCH: Hundreds rally in solidarity in Vancouver for gun control
Here are some tweets showing the events at the Vancouver rally:
The movement is being led by a new crop of teen activists, many of them survivors of the horrific mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
WATCH: Ellen DeGeneres, George Clooney and more voice their support for the Parkland survivors
Seventeen students lost their lives when a teen gunman opened fire at the school in February, a tragedy that has precipitated a renewed debate over gun control and how to prevent mass shootings in the U.S.
Survivors of the massacre and their supporters are calling for a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines along with stricter background checks.
WATCH: Hundreds turn up at March for Our Lives rally in Vancouver
A U.S.-wide campaign earlier this month saw tens of thousands of young people defy threats of school discipline and walk out of classes to protest what they say has become an unsafe environment.
The movement has also drawn some high profile support. George and Amal Clooney donated $500,000 to protest organizers, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has volunteered the team’s jet to transport survivors and victims’ families to Saturday’s Washington rally and Justin Bieber has urged his fans to sign a petition calling for gun control.
In Vancouver, the march will kick off at 10 a.m. at Jack Poole Plaza, before winding its way to the U.S. consulate.
The event is being organized by Democrats Abroad Vancouver, March On Vancouver and Act Now, along with local students.
WATCH: Vancouver March for Our Lives
Surrey public school teacher Annie O’Hana is one of the organizers, and said she’s expecting hundreds of students to attend, including about 30 from her own school.
“We are preparing youth to be active citizens, to hopefully be voters, to hopefully uphold democratic traditions here in Canada,” she told CKNW’s Jon McComb Show.
“So it’s really important that kids see that in a democracy what your voice is about, how can you use that voice.”
LISTEN: Vancouver to hold March for Our Lives rally
O’Hana admitted that situation for students in Canada is vastly different than that of their U.S. counterparts. But she said Canada has gun issues of its own — issues her students in Surrey are keenly aware of. And she added that Canada is in fact debating gun control legislation of its own right now.
WATCH: Hundreds march in Vancouver to push for U.S. gun control
The march is also an opportunity for young people to feel connected to something larger, she said.
“This is about solidarity, where they look at students in other parts of the world and they have to think about those students’ lives. And in my classroom that’s very important, we have to look beyond ourselves,” O’Hana said.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver School Board Chairperson commends the students who voiced their support to their colleagues south of the border.
“I really appreciate that so many people care so much about students and that it was led by students, so they’re taking this opportunity to show their care for other students,” Janet Fraser said.
She added adults should be offering safe places for children to learn.
However, the National Firearm Association thinks more education is needed on a topic as divisive as the United States’ Second Amendment.
“If marches and protests were going to solve this issue, the issue would already be solved at this time. The fact of the matter is these are very very complicated issues that people need to educate themselves on before they simply join a cause or support a cause that might have a negative effect on other people’s rights and freedoms,” Executive Vice President Blair Hagen said.
At least 16 other Canadian cities will be holding March for Our Lives events, including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary.
-With files from Niki Reitmayer
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