Syrians demonstrate in Montreal five years after Arab Spring
Published Sunday, March 13, 2016 6:33PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 13, 2016 6:49PM EDT
Members of Montreal's Syrian community took to the streets Sunday to protest the Assad regime five years after the uprising.
Demonstrators were showing their support for the millions of Syrians still caught in the crossfire.
The first wave of the Arab Spring revolution movement hit Syria five years ago, when thousands came out to protest the Bashar al-Assad government.
The response was swift and violent, splintering the country and leading to civil war.
The organizers of Sunday's march in Montreal paid tribute to those still fighting for freedom on the ground in Syria.
Many of those who attended the peaceful rally were refugees who were forced to flee Syria.
Children held up signs to say ‘thank you’ for the new home they've been given here in Canada.
Organizers also had a strong message for Canadians to not abandon Syria.
“We want to remind people of those still inside Syria, what it was all about when it started five years ago. It wasn't about a refugee crisis, it wasn't about ISIS, it was about people wanting to live in dignity, create a democratic state. And unfortunately, the price of freedom in Syria has been hundreds of thousands killed and millions of refugees,” said Faisal Alazem, spokesperson for the Syrian-Canadian Council.
One of the refugees attending the demonstration was a medical student who took part in those Syrian demonstrations five years ago.
Yaman Al Qadri said she was detained for a month and tortured because of it.
Now a student at Concordia, she said the ceasefire now in place has given the movement a boost.
“Because of a truce that took place the last two weeks, the Syrian people, despite all they've been through the last five years, they went back to the streets demanding dignity, demanding the same rights and demands that the revolution started for. When I see those people, when I follow the news, I see hope and I see my country, I see Syria is still there,” she said.
That ceasefire remains tenuous.