MONTREAL -- A group of Montrealers in solidarity with protesters in India on Sunday.

Nationwide protests have rocked India in recent weeks and 23 people have been killed during those protests. The demonstrations were sparked by the passage of a new citizenship law which allows Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities who are in India illegally to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted because of their religion in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The law does not apply to Muslims and critics have called the legislation a violation of India’s secular constitution.

Protesters have defied a law banning demonstrations that was enacted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist.

Ayesha Vemuri, a PhD student at McGill who co-organized the protest, said those gathered in Montreal wanted to express opposition to a racist law.

“This law discriminates by religion and prioritises Hindus over Muslims,” she said. “It basically denies Muslims the right to seek citizenship in India.”