Over 100 people gathered in front of the Saint-Laurent Metro station Sunday to denounce what they call “racist, misogynistic and xenophobic” government policies.
Some 50 community groups and organizations took to the streets to voice their frustration with Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government.
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A heavy Montreal police presence followed demonstrators as anti-Legault slogans were chanted aloud and the march disrupted city traffic.
Marlihan Lopez, vice-president of the Quebec Women’s Federation and organizer of the event, says she hopes this spectacle will help government officials see that people are affected by their proposed laws, a reality to which she says they are blind.
“We’re still trying to convince the government that there is actual systemic racism in Quebec,” Lopez said.
Lopez, like many at Sunday’s demonstration, believes controversial legislation such as Bill 9 is not respecting the religious rights of minorities.
Bill 9 is the CAQ’s proposed immigration reform that would see 18,000 immigration applications abruptly cancelled.
“We need to tackle the issues in policies that are more inclusive instead of creating racist policies and laws that exclude people,” Lopez said.
The protest also comes days before the government plans to table legislation that would bar civil servants in positions of authority — including teachers, police officers and judges — from wearing religious symbols in the workplace.
The proposed legislation was a key election promise made by Legault.