Protesters continue rallying against Bill 21 across Quebec

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Protests continue against Bill 21
WATCH: Quebecers gathered in cities across the province on Sunday to continue protesting Bill 21 as they pledged to keep up the fight against the legislation. Global's Brittany Henriques reports – Oct 6, 2019

Over 130 Montrealers gathered on Sunday at Place Émilie-Gamelin for the second weekend in row to protest Bill 21, the secularism law forbidding religious symbols in the public service.

Gatineau, Sherbrooke and Quebec City are among the cities also rallying to protest the bill on Sunday.

“It’s extremely important that we continue our opposition to this law because this law is a very dangerous precedent,” said ‘Non à la loi 21’ rally organizer Ehab Lotayef.

READ MORE: ‘We will keep fighting until the end’: Protesters rally against Bill 21/

The law adopted in June by the National Assembly came with a grandfather clause protecting teachers hired before March 28, 2019, but rally organizers say this affects everyone.

“It makes us all worried that we are not protected. That any government can come and strike down items from the Quebec charter and put on hold the Canadian charter then what protection do we really have?”

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Click to play video: 'Federal Election 2019: Bill 21, abortion and environment among topics debated in first French-language debate'
Federal Election 2019: Bill 21, abortion and environment among topics debated in first French-language debate

“They must understand the beauty of Canada and Quebec is diversity,” said Jatinder Bhanderi, director of the Montreal India Canada Association.

Earlier this week, the province’s largest English school board voted in favour of contesting the bill in court.

Premier François Legault dismissed the challenge, calling it “nothing but a big show.” Many groups in Quebec are however still determined to get the bill repealed.

“We will continue our campaigning against it on all levels — on the public level, political level, and on the legal level until this law is repealed,” said Lotayef.

READ MORE: EMSB to contest validity of Quebec’s religious symbols law in court

Protesters said the law is discriminatory and worry it is creating a climate of hate.

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“It renders people who are more vulnerable already, many of whom are recent immigrants or who have struggled hard to get an education,” said Concordia Political Science professor Kim Manning.

“If you have qualification that’s fine, that’s more than enough. You don’t say if someone wears a turban you cannot work in the court,” said Bhanderi.

“We have to remember what kind of impact this is having on people who may not wear kippa, who many not wear a hijab or a turban, right,” said Manning.  “These are people who speak languages who may be associated with a particular head covering.”

— With files from Global’s Alessia Simona Maratta and Aalia Adam

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