New Zealand mass shooting fires up anti-racism protests in Vancouver and across Canada

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      Protests are planned across Canada to mark this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

      Organizers say that the massacre in New Zealand that was perpetrated by a self-described white supremacist has provided “intense urgency” to these actions.

      A 28-year-old man has been charged for the murders of 49 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

      Brenton Harrison Tarrant reportedly posted on social media a 74-page manifesto filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric before going on a mass shooting rampage on March 14.

      In Canada, organizers of the protest actions note that the country has experienced the same tragedy.

      They cited the 2017 mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec, which killed six people.

      The world is observing International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21.

      On that day, protests will be held in Halifax, Montreal, and Vancouver. The local commemoration will be at the Alma VanDusen Room of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library (350 West Georgia Street).

      A new Canadian alliance called Migrant Rights Network will also launch on March 21.

      “Migrant and racial justice organizations are coming together as the Migrant Rights Network to ntervene in an increasingly divisive and alarmingly dangerous political environment,” according to a media release.

      The release noted that police-reported hate crimes rose 47 percent in 2017.

      “At least 300 known white supremacist organizations are currently active across the country,” the release also stated.

      Moreover, people of colour are subject to unfair treatment in various situations.

      “Meanwhile, anti-immigrant populist messaging by federal political parties increased dramatically during the recent by-elections,” according to the media release. “Clearly, Canada is not immune to the racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric which was central to national elections in the United States, and in many countries in Western Europe. Uniting against racism now is the only way forward.”

      Local reaction to the March 14 tragedy in New Zealand has been swift.

      Activist Imtiaz Popat on that day announced that a vigil was to be held at the Al-Jamia Mosque at 655 West 8th Avenue in Vancouver.

      Anti-racism protests will continue until the weekend. There will be actions in Lethbridge and Edmonton on March 23, and in Montreal and Ottawa on March 24.

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