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February 9

Montreal: Report-back from Anti-Fascist Demonstration Against PEGIDA

From Jaggi Singh

The anti-immigrant Islamophobic group, Pégida Québec, failed again (for the third time) to march openly on Montreal’s streets. This time, they were shut down in the working class immigrant neighborhood of Villeray. Close to 200 anti-racists and anti-fascists mobilized to confront Pegida, who tried to demonstrate at the corner of Drolet and Jarry.

Three Pegida members were chased away from their demonstration location.

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Their demo location had already been covered in graffiti.

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Later, surrounded by Montreal police (at least 100 police officers were deployed during the day), only 4 or 5 members of Pegida gathered to read a short statement in front of Justin Trudeau’s constituency office, across from Jarry métro, before they too ran away.

Today’s attempted protest by Pégida Québec was part of an international day of action by Pégida; however, like in Montreal, Pégida demonstrators were confronted by anti-fascists and anti-racists all over Europe.

In March 2015, Pégida Quebec was unable to demonstrate after an anti-racist mobilization of several hundred people in the neighborhood of St-Michel; similarly, Pégida Québec was shut down this past September in downtown Montreal.

The text of the flyer passed out to by-standers:

NO TO RACISM AND ISLAMOPHOBIA!

FASCISTS WILL NOT MARCH IN VILLERAY!

February 6, 2016 — Today, the quasi-fascist organization PEGIDA (the German acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) is trying to demonstrate and march in the heart of Villeray, a diverse working class, immigrant neighborhood.

Our counter-demonstration, comprised of diverse organizations and individuals, is here to oppose PEGIDA as well as any organization or person that espouses racism and Islamophobia. We are also here to show solidarity and support with everyone who has been marginalized by the climate of fear and racism that specifically targets Muslims as well as immigrants more generally.

The past two times the racist PEGIDA tried to mobilize (March 2015 in St-Michel, and September 2015 in downtown Montreal), community members were present to help shut them down. We have prevented two of their demonstrations in the past, effectively.

We are making sure that PEGIDA – which is anti-immigrant and far-right and whose Quebec leader openly sympathizes with neo-Nazis and the Front National of France — will not march and will be opposed vigorously.

PEGIDA Quebec’s attempted provocation today represents a larger problem: the growing normalization of racism against Muslim minorities. Political parties, the corporate media and security and police agencies are all complicit in this normalization.

The Montreal police have given permission to PEGIDA to march today. But police permission doesn’t mean the permission of pro-immigrant, anti-racist movements in Montreal. We assert that racists and fascists should have no public space to organize in Montreal.

We also can’t trust the police, who daily harass and brutalize racialized and poor communities in Montreal. It was the Police Brotherhood President, Yves Francoeur, who called Montreal’s multi-ethnic character a risk to his officers and made reference to “mosques on the territory” of Montreal. He still keeps his job.

Instead of trusting in politicians or police, we rely on our collective power, in our streets and neighborhoods, to effectively organize against and shut down all forms of racism. Let’s continue to oppose racism and fascism in all its forms.

Solidarity with anti-fascist and anti-racist comrades mobilizing worldwide to confront Pégida and all racists and fascists.

Immigrants In, Racists Out!

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