Vancouver moms protest refugee separations at Trump tower, U.S. consulate
Published Saturday, June 30, 2018 3:49PM PDT Last Updated Monday, July 2, 2018 12:04PM PDT
More than 100 people protested outside the Trump hotel tower and U.S. consulate in downtown Vancouver to rally against the White House’s recent policy of separating refugee children from their Mexican-border-crossing parents.
Among the protesters were several Vancouver-area moms pushing strollers with their kids.
“I can hardly watch the news right now. It’s so upsetting,” said Dana Osiowy, holding her two-year-old son. “I just cry about it all the time. Then I get super, super angry. I can’t even imagine having my little guy taken away from me.”
“The worrisome thing for me is, these children, they are going to grow up and they’re going to hate the U.S. for this. They are breeding so much trouble through this in the future,” said Rachelle Botte.
Although U.S. President Donald Trump recently ordered that families no longer be separated, officials estimate there are still more than 2,000 children who have not been reunited with their loved ones.
Many at the rally, organized in part by March On Vancouver, held signs such as, “Migration is not a crime.” The protest was held concurrent to dozens of similar rallies across Canada and the United States on Saturday.
In Toronto, a pile of stuffed animals was placed in front of the American consulate.
"As we arranged them, we thought about each child who had these stuffies before," said Nadia Pestrak, a single mother of two boys who encouraged protesters to bring their own stuffed animals to the rally.
Laura Prado, an immigrant from Uruguay who arrived in Canada in 1986, took the microphone to say she was appalled by the audio of children in a U.S. detention centre asking to see their parents.
"I thought it was cruel and I thought it was inhumane, but what upset me the most is that it was done publicly," she said in Toronto.
At the protest in Halifax where dozens gathered, activist Masuma Khan, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Afghanistan decades ago, said the rally also reminds of Canada’s troubled past with family separation.
"The reality is that this country has been separating children from… Indigenous parents from the start of its existence."
As examples, Khan pointed to residential schools and the 60s Scoops, with the latter taking tens of thousands of First Nations children from their homes and adopting them into non-Indigenous families between 1951 and 1991.
Back in Vancouver, Tammy Dewar, holding her baby daughter said, “It’s just heart breaking what is happening. I just thought I have to do something,”
With files from Alex Cooke in Halifax and the Canadian Press