News | Montreal says “Fuck Trump”

Hundreds rally after U.S. election in “cathartic” solidarity demonstration

“Fuck Donald Trump!” chanted a crowd of roughly 200 demonstrators marching down St. Denis on Wednesday, November 9, the words resonating as onlookers and passersby waved and cheered in support. The self-described anti-fascist gathering coincided with dozens of similar protests held across the U.S. in the wake of Trump’s election as the next U.S. President on November 8. It aimed to denounce Trump’s racism, sexism, and right-wing populist rhetoric and policy proposals.

A solemn mood reigned as protesters gathered around 7:30 p.m. at the corner of Ontario and de Lorimier. Many expressed their anger and disappointment in the previous night’s election.

“The last twenty-four hours have been emotionally traumatizing,” a Concordia student who attended the protest told The Daily. “I’ve been trying to come to face with the reality of having a neo-fascist as someone with the nuclear codes, [at the head of] one of the most powerful militaries in the world, so I’m feeling pretty shitty. Honestly, I feel like I’ve lost all hope.”

“I feel like a lot of people felt like the world was trending in a somewhat good direction, and this is a slap in the face to that kind of idea,” Justinas Staskevicius, a recent Concordia graduate, told The Daily at the protest. “I think the people were lied to, I think they were sold the image of a man who they felt was a populist, and they had a lot of anger toward the system itself.”

Speaking at the beginning of the rally, one of the organizers emphasized the need for solidarity with marginalized populations in the United States.

“I’ve been trying to come to face with the reality of having a neo-fascist as someone with the nuclear codes, [at the head of] one of the most powerful militaries in the world, so I’m feeling pretty shitty.”

“The far-right populist wave, which is growing in France, in Britain, in Greece, now finds an echo in North America,” she told the crowd in French. “Faced with Donald Trump’s racism and sexism, his wealth, his disdain for poor people, for disabled people, for the LGBT community, let us come together to say loud and clear that the far-right shall not pass, that we stand in solidarity with much of the American population that will shortly suffer the wrath of Trump.”

The gathering served as “a chance for personal catharsis” for the participants, as the anonymous student described it, and the mood noticeably lightened once demonstrators took to the streets and began to chant.

“I think the people were lied to, I think they were sold the image of a man who they felt was a populist, and they had a lot of anger toward the system itself.”

“Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” and “Tout le monde déteste les fascistes!” (“Everybody hates fascists!”) the crowd shouted as it headed westward escorted by police.

Speaking to The Daily, attendees noted the harmful impact of Trump’s words and actions on members of marginalized groups and the impunity with which he has acted.

“We need to send a clear message that we do not accept this candidate who defends the principles of white supremacy and promotes hatred against different ethnic groups, Mexicans, Muslims,” Sandra Cordero, one of the demonstrators, said in French. “He’s a rapist, this guy is a rapist […] how come no one has arrested him yet? […] Will he do it again to other people? Will he prevent justice from taking its course? […] This is a fascist, this is a dangerous man.”

Maylee, a freelance illustrator who attended the protest, expressed concern about the rippling effects of Trump’s victory. “As a person of colour and a woman […] I really hope people of colour [in Canada] will not get hurt in this. I hope there won’t be a rise of racism in the world either because someone just gave the green light to this. So for now, let’s just hope the next twenty-four hours is going to be okay, because the last twenty-four hours have been really tough.”

Police declared the demonstration illegal at 8:50 p.m., but did not take action to disperse it. Shortly thereafter, the protest reached its destination, the U.S. consulate at the corner of St. Alexandre and René-Lévesque.

“We need to send a clear message that we do not accept this candidate who defends the principles of white supremacy and promotes hatred against different ethnic groups, Mexicans, Muslims.”

Addressing the crowd at the close of the demonstration, Éric, an organizer, spoke to the relevance of the anti-fascist struggle in Quebec.

“The struggle against fascism has to be waged day after day, in our living environments, in our work environments, everywhere we are, because it requires constant education – that’s the only way we can defeat it, and certainly not by voting, which amounts to a choice between the plague and cholera as we have seen this year in the U.S.,” he said in French.

“Here in Quebec, one has only to think of the Parti Québécois with Jean-François Lisée [and his Islamophobia], the security measures that are being taken to prevent us from demonstrating – we’re not any safer here than our neighbours are.”

Looking toward the future, some of the participants found a silver lining in an opportunity to build solidarity and in an increased potential for mobilization.

“Here in Quebec, one has only to think of the Parti Québécois with Jean-François Lisée [and his Islamophobia], the security measures that are being taken to prevent us from demonstrating – we’re not any safer here than our neighbours are.”

“Perhaps the one positive thing that can happen from this situation is that people that were centrist, liberal, HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] supporters will become radicalized and do more than they would have had she been elected,” said the anonymous student. “I’m trying to convince myself that there’s hope, but it’s hard.”


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