Border crossers to encounter duelling protests on Saturday
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 12:26PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 16, 2018 12:58PM EDT
There could be tense moments at the Quebec/New York border this weekend as various groups with strong views on immigrants prepare demonstrations.
The group known as Storm Alliance held several anti-immigration protests near the Lacolle border crossing last year, and is planning another one for this weekend.
Members want the federal government to prevent asylum seekers from entering the country instead of having them arrested and giving them hearings to determine if they will be allowed to stay, as is required by the Safe Third Country treaty Canada has signed with the United States.
To counter the Storm Alliance demonstration, a group called Open the Borders will be holding a rally on Saturday morning to welcome the asylum seekers.
Spokesperson Aaron Lakoff said Storm Alliance's actions are being encouraged by politicians who are calling for the exclusion of migrants.
"We feel that immigrants and refugees are a net benefit for our society. We're going to be down there and we're going to take the space to make sure that Storm Alliance does not get to go to the border with their racist and hateful message," said Lakoff.
The Sureté du Quebec is expecting a violent confrontation and will be prepared, with riot police standing by if protests get out of hand.
Last September one person was arrested as the opposing sides hurled insults at each other.
More than 7,600 people have entered Canada outside of a border crossing this year, almost always into Quebec because the border is easily accessible.