Chanting “So so solidarity, with, with, with refugees…”, protesters gathered Wednesday morning outside the Montreal constituency office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to denounce the closure of Roxham Road.
“Allow me, Mr. Trudeau, to say that closing Roxham Road is the worst decision you’ve made since becoming prime minister,” said Samira Jasmin, of the Solidarity Across Borders migrant justice network.
“Yes, Mr. Trudeau, you bowed to racist, populist pressures in making this decision. It is sad because, despite this closure, individuals and families will continue to come using more dangerous and less dignified paths,” she added.
The event, organized by Solidarité sans frontières, brought together several community and social organizations. It aimed to demand the reopening of Roxham Road, closed since March 25, and the abolition of the Safe Third Country Agreement, signed between Canada and the United States, which obliges potential refugees to seek asylum. in the first safe country they set foot in.
The modernization of this agreement, announced on March 23 by Ottawa, has expanded its application to “irregular” crossings such as Roxham Road. The agreement now designates the 8900 km of the land border as an official crossing. Migrants who enter Canada to seek asylum are therefore arrested and sent back to the United States, with some exceptions provided for in the agreement.
“Racism only benefits the bosses,” read a large red banner held by two protesters. “Let’s fight it with workers’ solidarity. »
Ahead, a man held up a piece of cardboard on which he had written: “Dignity, yes!” ! ! That’s everyone’s problem! ! ! »
The organizers had placed donuts, buns, fruit and coffee on a bench for the demonstrators.
In the street, motorists honked their horns as they passed, as support.
Even though everything went peacefully, the police intervened to ask a group of people to free the entrance to the building, located at 1100, boul. Crémazie Est, to allow employees to make their way through.
“We are contesting the closure of Roxham Road because it endangers the lives of people who just want to improve their conditions,” explained François Cremer, of the organization La Riposte sociale.
“It pushes them down criminal paths, dangerous paths and into the worst job functions. We want Roxham Road to be reopened. But we go further: we demand the free movement of people. »
Dolores Chew took the microphone saying she was angry. “As humans, this decision disappoints us,” she said, to applause. The government has nothing to do with the hundreds of people whose lives are in danger and in jeopardy because of these actions. »
Member of the Care for Social Justice collective, Rachel Heap-Lalonde added: “How many deaths will we have to count before we understand that the borders cannot be closed? There will always be a human wave seeking security, reunification and future. »