Organizers hope thousands turn out for march against Quebec values charter

MONTREAL – Organizers of a multicultural protest against Quebec’s proposed charter of values are hoping thousands of people will hit the streets in Montreal today.

Members of the Muslim, Sikh, native and Jewish communities have said they will join the march against restrictions on the wearing of religious symbols in the public service.

The plan unveiled by the Parti Quebecois government earlier this week has sparked a heated debate.

While opinion polls indicate there is some support for the charter, mainly in the province’s outlying regions, opponents have called it discriminatory.

Adil Charkaoui, a spokesman for the Quebec Collective Against Islamophobia, has said the noontime demonstration is only one of several planned actions against the proposed charter.

The government wants to forbid Quebec’s public employees from wearing conspicuously visible religious symbols — including hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes and larger-than-average crucifixes.

Premier Pauline Marois says the move is necessary so the public service presents a neutral face.

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