Supporters and critics of motion condemning Islamophobia clash in Montreal
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, March 4, 2017 2:24PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, March 4, 2017 9:59PM EST
MONTREAL -- There were some tense moments in the streets of Montreal on Saturday as there were some clashes between supporters and opponents of a Parliamentary motion condemning Islamophobia.
There was a heavy police presence outside city hall keeping the two sides apart as a demonstration by critics of the motion was met by an equally large counter-protest.
On one side, some protesters carried signs calling for free speech and waved the flags of right wing groups that have sprung up in Quebec recently, while their opponents chanted anti-fascist slogans and expressed support for immigrants and Muslims.
The two groups, which each appeared to be between 100 and 200 people, then held parallel marches through the streets of Montreal.
Despite police efforts to keep the two sides apart, some isolated scuffles occurred between the two sides as tempers flared.
Police say there were no arrests or injuries.
An Ontario Liberal backbencher, Iqra Khalid, brought forward the motion in Parliament last year, and since then she has received numerous racist and sexually derogatory emails that were laced with expletives.
Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, who prominently backed the motion, also found herself on the receiving end of similar kinds of messages.
The Opposition tried to pass an amendment last month removing the word "Islamophobia" from the motion, saying it singles out one religious group over others.
But the Liberals used their majority to block the effort.
Protests against the motion took place in several Canadian cities including Calgary, Regina, Vancouver, and Toronto.