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Hundreds march in Montreal in memory of 16-year-old killed in Saint-Michel

Federal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez addresses the crowd at a memorial gathering for Thomas Trudel. Nov 20, 2021. Dan Spector / Global News

Hundreds of people gathered in Saint-Michel on Saturday to mourn the death of 16-year-old Thomas Trudel.

The high school student with no known links to crime was murdered in the area last Sunday.

Community leaders expressed anger and demanded action from the government to stop the violence taking place in the streets of Montreal.

“We would have liked not to organize another tribute to another child,” said Mohamed Noredine Mimoun, co-ordinator with the Forum Jeunesse de Saint-Michel.

“This tribute is first of all in support of the family, but also to the young people of the school and to all the friends of Thomas. We do not want to enter a vicious circle of violence, we do not want there to be a feeling of revenge or a feeling of insecurity that will push our young people towards guns again.”

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Trudel was shot near the high school he attended, Ecole Joseph-François-Perrault. Many of his fellow students were in attendance.

“It honestly makes me feel like I lost someone because everyone is sad around me,” said Marie Liacas, who attends the school. “I’ve been crying a whole lot even though I didn’t know him, because the impact on everyone’s life is just horrible.”

Sixteen-year-old Jannai Dopwell-Bailey and 15-year-old Meriem Boundaoui were also on the minds of the demonstrators, with their faces seen on several signs brought by attendees. Dopwell-Bailey was fatally stabbed outside his high school last month, while  Boundaoui was killed by gunfire in February.

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“My son, when he goes somewhere, I bring him and I go get him. It’s like that,” said Sonia Kahlal, who said she has a 16-year-old son who knew Trudel when they were younger.

The crowd somberly marched from Parc François-Perrault to the spot where Trudel lost his life, where many took a moment to pay their respects at the growing memorial site.

Politicians from all three levels of government were present and addressed the crowd.

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“We must do everything in our power, all together, so that this never happens again,” said federal Heritage Minister and Montreal MP Pablo Rodriguez. “Love must always, at all times, triumph over fear and fear hatred.”

Some in the crowd screamed back at him, demanding action.

Laurence Lavigne-Lalonde, the newly elected mayor of Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension, was applauded during her speech.

She demanded Canada do a better job guarding against gun smuggling at the border, and then demanded Quebec put more money into after-school activities that keep teens out of trouble.

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