MONTREAL – Protesters in Montreal burned an American flag and an effigy of Donald Trump on Friday in the first of several planned demonstrations against the new U.S. president.
About 200 people marched through downtown, waving signs and chanting slogans, most commonly “No Trump, No Hate, America was Never Great!”
They then stopped outside the offices of the U.S. Consulate, where they set fire to a cardboard replica of Trump as a dozen police officers guarded the door.
Organizer Nicole LeBlanc said despite the focus on Trump, the protest was less about him than the values he stands for.
“We want to start a conversation about the fact that the sexist, anti-immigrant, islamophobic, xenophobic policies that Trump represents are not just limited to Trump,” she said.
“There are far-right groups with very similar policies operating here in Quebec.”
The consulate posted a message on its website on Thursday warning American citizens to avoid the protests, citing safety concerns.
During Friday’s march, a lone Trump supporter who showed up wearing a shirt reading “Hillary for Prison” was chased and knocked to the ground before police intervened.
After leaving the consulate, a smaller group of protesters, including a tuba player, surprised noontime shoppers by marching through an upscale shopping mall.
Kerry McElroy, an American now living in Montreal, said Trump’s inauguration evoked a mixture of sadness and gratitude.
“I feel lucky to be in Canada and I appreciate Canada a lot more when I see my country becoming something I’m not proud of,” she said at the protest.
She said expats such as herself have “an opportunity to mount a resistance” to Trump’s policies from across the border.
“If people are being hurt or threatened with deportation, if things are violent there, we want to have concrete plans here to help people,” she said.
Another march was set for Friday night in Montreal, and anti-Trump demonstrations are planned all across Canada on Saturday.