Singh Says Quebec City Mayor Echoes Trump

Jaggi’s “Gang” a Bunch of “Morons”: Labeaume

  • As Quebec City riot police were attempting to disperse the protest against right-wing group La Meute, activist Jaggi Singh refused to move and found himself behind crowd control lines, pushed to the ground by officers, on Sunday, Aug. 20. The gathering had been declared illegal after acts of violence and vandalism were done by some protesters part of the anti-racist grouping. Photo Brian Lapuz

After Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume called anti-racist activist Jaggi Singh’s “gang” a group of “morons” on TVA following Sunday events, Singh warned against Labeaume’s post-Charlottesville Trump-like comparison of denouncing “violence on both sides.”

Labeaume also said that “Jaggi’s gang” isn’t welcome in the city after the violence and vandalism committed by some protesting against the right-wing group La Meute. Hours after the broadcast, Singh responded through a public post on his Facebook page.

“Mayor Labeaume, like Donald Trump, is claiming equivalency between anti-racists—and the varied tactics and strategies we use—and the racist far-right,” said Singh in the statement. “His false equivalency, like Donald Trump’s after Charlottesville, is absurd. With his comments today, Mayor Labeaume is essentially pandering to racists in Quebec City.”

Singh criticised the mayor for not taking action to prevent La Meute from demonstrating that day.

“By insulting anti-racist protesters, Labeaume is providing a smokescreen for his own inaction and apathy in the face of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia,” he said.

Singh also said the mayor has no right to bar him from Quebec City.

“[Labeaume] is power-tripping if he thinks he can decide whether I or anyone else is welcome to his city,” said Singh. “There is no border between Montreal and Quebec City, and if there was I wouldn’t respect it anyways.”

On Sunday, hundreds of counter-protesters gathered around the National Assembly in an attempt to push the far-right group La Meute out of the city, who had made plans that same day to protest against the influx of migrants crossing the border into Quebec.

A pro-immigration rally was held in Quebec City, delaying right-wing group La Meute’s anti-immigration protest by hours, on Sunday, Aug. 20. Photo Brian Lapuz

Many of those counter-protesters also came in from Montreal, and Singh helped in mobilizing that particular contingent.

“The fact that Jaggi Singh and his followers see the use of violence as legitimate is completely stupid,” said Labeaume. “The way they banalize violence makes absolutely no sense.”

The mayor was clear in his opinion that the bulk of the damage should be attributed to counter-protesters who came in from Montreal. He specifically singled out the group that came out on three buses from Montreal, and told TVA that they’re no longer welcome here.

The mayor also said that La Meute is not welcome there either, though he explained he was less frustrated with them since they had obeyed law enforcement more consistently that day.

“You can’t let these people plant roots,” said Singh then. “These lessons are taught to us by survivors of fascism.”

On the Use of Violence

On the day of the protest, Singh spoke with The Link on the topic of violence.

While many outlets portray anti-fascist movements as merely reactionary and violent, Singh argues that portrayal is unfair, since violence is only a small part of the organizing that they do.

“We are ready to exercise our self-defense, but that does not make us inherently violent people,” explained Singh, while mentioning that this self-defense is primarily intended for the protection of marginalized people.

This self-defense, as he describes it, is also instrumental in ensuring that far-right groups don’t have a platform in our province.

“You can’t let these people plant roots,” said Singh then. “These lessons are taught to us by survivors of fascism.”

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