On the National Day of Action Against Islamophobia and White Supremacy, thousands took to the streets on Saturday to protest the Quebec City mosque shooting and the recent executive order by U.S. president Donald Trump that bans seven Muslim-majority countries from entry to America.
Protesters began at the U.S. consulate in Toronto and marched toward the Federal Court.
Hashim Yussuf, a UTM student and one of the march-organizers from Black Lives Matter, told The Medium that there were up to 10,000 people protesting, coming from different ages and backgrounds.
“My personal thought is that this is really messed up and this is not normal, because what happened in the Quebec shooting was really traumatizing.
“I’m a Muslim myself. I have families down in the States who were caught up in that whole border ban,” said Yussuf, adding that the current situations do not just hurt him personally, which motivates him more to continue his fight.
“Yesterday was just the beginning and we’ll continue to go on for whatever is necessary,” Yussuf said.
In an email to The Medium, UTMSU’s president Nour Alideeb was “pleasantly surprised by the turnout.”
“It was very liberating being around so many individuals who felt as strongly as I did about these policies and issues that plague our community,” she wrote.
According to Alideeb, UTMSU both endorsed and helped organize the day.
“Our student union exists to safeguard the individual rights of the student, regardless of race, colour, creed, sex, nationality, place of origin, or personal or political beliefs,” Alideeb said.
UTMSU plans on working with other unions across Canada to lobby on municipal, provincial, and federal levels to “ensure that Canada confronts its systems of oppression.”
Alideeb highlighted that America should not be the standard, but Canada should “strive for a better and safer society for all.”
Protests took place at the same time in other cities across Canada, including Calgary, Vancouver, Quebec City, and others.
The march was endorsed by over 150 other organizations, including the Coalition Against Bigotry in the Pacific; the Chines Canadian National Council in Toronto; No One is Illegal in Toronto and London, Ontario; and Siraat Muslim Collective in Vancouver.