Canadians stage pro-refugee demonstrations
Hundreds of Canadian protesters have taken to the streets in Montreal to express their support for thousands of asylum seekers who have fled their violence-hit countries.
Some 700 people marched in downtown Montreal on Saturday, calling on the Canadian government to admit more refugees into the country.
The demonstrators urged authorities to open Canada’s borders to the asylum seekers, saying Ottawa must take more serious measures to support desperate refugees.
Organizers say more protests are planned to be held throughout the weekend in major Canadian cities.
The administration of Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is accused of failing to support refugees, particularly after the image of a drowned Syrian toddler sparked outrage around the world.
The family of the kid, whose lifeless body was washed up on a Turkish beach along with his brother and mother on September 3, had applied for entry into Canada. However, their request was turned down by Canadian authorities.
Abdullah Kurdi, the father of three-year-old Aylan and five-year-old Galip, said earlier this week that he had dismissed a new offer of Canadian citizenship by Ottawa in the wake of the heart-wrenching sea incident.
The man, who also lost his wife Rehana in the desperate voyage from Turkey to Greece, returned to his Kurdish hometown of Kobani in Syria on Friday and buried his family members.
According to Canadian media reports, the Vancouver-based aunt of Aylan Kurdi, Tima, had applied to obtain Canadian refugee status for her relatives in Kobani, which was largely destroyed after being attacked by the Takfiri Daesh terrorists in June 2015.
Canadian authorities, however, said they had received no refugee application.
The haunting image of Aylan’s body focused the world’s attention on the wave of refugees who risk their lives to reach Europe after fleeing conflict-hit zones in Africa and the Middle East.
According to the latest figures released by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, some 2,500 out of the more than 300,000 people who have used sea routes to reach Europe this year have lost their lives.