According to the Centre, hundreds of Afghan-Canadians and other Montrealers gathered to "show their solidarity and support for the Afghan people in Afghanistan," and especially to raise their voices for Afghan women's civil rights.
"We stand for Peace & Justice in Afghanistan, Women's & Children's Rights in Afghanistan, More International Solidarity with Afghanistan. We are against Oppression of the Afghan people, Hazara Genocide, War & Violence in Afghanistan, Countries who support/finance terrorism and the Taliban, Export of Weapons to the Taliban."
At a press conference on Monday, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante condemned the recent spate of protests against vaccine mandates in the city and had some harsh words for the individuals participating in them.
"We will not let people who have particular ideas about vaccination [...] stop people from getting vaccinated, doing their work, taking care of people, or going to study," the mayor said.
Manifester est un droit. Mais la ligne a été franchie, et ça doit cesser immédiatement. Intimider des enfants et de… https://t.co/YWBCfJku4O
In a Twitter post, Minister of International Relations, Immigration, and Francization Nadine Girault said that "after having carried out quarantine in Toronto, the Afghan refugees bound for Quebec will be taken care of by the Government of Quebec."
Nous sommes en train d’organiser l'accueil sur le terrain avec les organismes partenaires chevronnés. Nous souhaito… https://t.co/MDDEqy8jj3
On August 13, the Canadian government announced that it will expand its resettlement program to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees who are under threat from the Taliban.
The program will prioritize refugees from the most vulnerable groups, including "women leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, persecuted religious minorities, LGBTI individuals, and family members of previously resettled interpreters," as well as "government-supported and privately sponsored refugees, along with those sponsored by family already in Canada."
The Facebook event for "NON à la passe sanitaire !" attracted over 20,000 people who marked themselves as "interested." Another 10,500 Facebook users marked themselves as "going."
The march began on boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest at around 2 p.m. before turning onto rue Guy. The plan was to then move to rue Sherbrooke and rue Jeanne-Mance before finishing at Place des Festivals.
Videos show people drumming, waving Quebec flags and holding signs with sayings like, "A passport is for going to a foreign country, not becoming a foreigner in your own country."
Video footage also shows a crowd chanting, "Fuck Legault."
"The planned implementation of the health pass (proof of vaccination for restaurants, cinemas, sports teams, educational institutions, etc.) is an unprecedented prejudice for the population and is highly discriminatory. We must say NO together," reads the Facebook page for the event.
MTL Blog's Alex Melki, who was live at the scene of the protest, reported seeing a mixed crowd in terms of ages and a lack of people wearing face masks.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccine and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.