“We Are All Human Beings:” Protest Held Against Deportation of Guinean Refugees

Small Crowd Aims to Support Neighbours, Raise Awareness

Gunn Akole Fadima arrived in Canada eight years ago. Now, she faces the possibility of being sent back. Photo Ion Etxebarria
Dominique Kpoghomou addresses the crowd at the protest Sunday. Photo Ion Etxebarria

A protest against the deportation of Guinean refugees took place at the Mont-Royal metro station on Sunday. This is the second rally for the cause held in the last four months.

“[This rally] was about being here so that society becomes aware that these issues are being faced by people who they are probably neighbours with or work with,” protest organizer Mostafa Henaway said.

Participants heard speeches from Guinean refugees and people who are working with and supporting the Guinean refugee community. Some of the speakers led chants such as “No one is illegal”.

Gunn Akole Fadima, a Guinean refugee who arrived in Canada eight years ago, was one of the speakers there. Now she faces the possibility of being sent back. Her daughter was born in Canada and Fadima worries that she will struggle to fit in, and could face bullying, if she is forced to return to Guinea. The entire matter is out of her hands.

“It’s not me who decides,” she said in her speech to the group, standing in front of a big yellow banner that read “Stop the deportation of Guinean refugees from Canada.”

Some of the attendees carried red, yellow and green signs—the colours of the Guinea flag—that read the same message.

Nearly 30 people gathered to protest against the deportation of Guinean refugees. Photo Ion Etxebarria

Giuliana Fumagalli, who is running for mayor of the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough, attended the rally. She says it’s important that community members participate in demonstrations like this because these Guinean refugees are part of the community.

“What their status is, is completely irrelevant to me,” she said. “All I know is if they’re here, they’re actually an integral part of the community […] So for me, support is not even negotiable, it’s a given.”

“We want the authorities to know it’s not fair to deport people, especially if they are not bad people,” said another Guinean refugee, Dominique Kpoghomou. “We are all human beings.”

The rally hosted about 30 people. Henaway said the group is starting with “baby steps” and will work its way up.

Moving forward, the group will continue to plan protests, press conferences and other community events until they can get the government to stop deporting Guinean refugees.

“Even though [Trudeau] says very nice things, refugees themselves are facing deportation,” he said.