Ottawa: Right-wing protesters opposed to Canada joining a UN pact for better regulating worldwide migration clashed on Saturday with pro-immigration groups in the biting cold outside Parliament. An estimated 200 members of far-right groups and 100 counter-protesters lobbed expletive-laced insults at each other on the snow-covered lawn, resulting in one arrest.
Scuffles erupted just as the event got underway, but riot police quickly separated the two sides. The crowd then began chanting “Reject immigration pact”, but was drowned out by shouts of “Shame” and “Refugees welcome, racists go home”. Sylvain Brouillette, spokesman for the protesters, said the UN pact risks eroding sovereign immigration policies, a view echoed by opposition Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, and conservative politicians in other countries, but roundly dismissed by its proponents.
Passerby Aditya Rao stopped to listen to the arguments but concluded the protesters were misguided. “It boggles the mind,” he told AFP. “These people are grumbling about all the chaotic migration, but at the same time are complaining about an effort to make it orderly and safe. It’s atrocious.”