Fredericton residents rally to protest 'hateful views against humanity'
More than 80 people danced, sang and protested peacefully at a rally to promote tolerance and solidarity in Fredericton on Monday evening.
'No One is Illegal Fredericton' wanted to send a clear but positive message denouncing racism, fascism and white supremacy, said event co-organizer Tabatha Armstrong.
She said the rally was a response to the deadly attack on people protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week, as well as other world events that speak to a rising confidence among people who promote "hateful views against humanity."
"We wanted to try and find a positive way to come together and combat that and to demonstrate that we don't tolerate that here," she said. "And that this is a loving, open and welcoming community for everyone."
People attending the rally were invited to draw positive chalk messages and paintings in front of city hall.
Some also blew bubbles, or just talked.
Armstrong said the rally also wanted to give residents an opportunity to come together and support each other.
She added that she never experienced any kind of counter-demonstration in Fredericton when these events are held.
"I have a lot of faith, I guess, in the people in Fredericton that they are going to create a community of people that is welcoming," she said.
Monday's demonstration was not the first of its kind.
Earlier this year, residents also gathered in the city and across the province to protest a shooting at a Quebec mosque.
Rally co-organizer Gül Caliskan said people have different opinions and emotions when these attacks take place, and the rallies are a good way of bringing them together and creating a safe space to express their feelings.
"What we are trying to establish is having some space to get together. Even when we don't agree, we should be able to discuss and express and really exchange ideas," she said.
"That's one of the important purposes we want to push for."