Saskatonians packed City Hall Square Tuesday evening to honour the victims of Sunday night’s Quebec City mosque shooting, and to support those affected by President Trump’s travel ban.
Over 1,000 people from all walks of life held candles, hugged each other and sang during the hour-long solidarity vigil organized by grassroots community members.
“I love how people gathered here,” said Ayesha Ishtiaq, a Canadian citizen who immigrated from Pakistan. “It really helps.”
Ishtiaq said she was proud to be Canadian while looking at the crowd.
Attendees held signs of unity, reading messages such as “no hate” and “we are all immigrants.” Some featured both Arabic and English writing.
— Chris Vandenbreekel (@Vandecision) January 31, 2017
Those addressing the crowd spoke of the need for unity, and some called for Saskatoon to become a sanctuary city for refugees and immigrants.
Dr. Ayesha Ahmed from the University of Saskatchewan gave an emotional speech, saying after the attack in Quebec she was afraid of showing her face in public because of her religion.
“But I should not be afraid, because as I look around I see love,” she said. “I see compassion and hope. I see the Canada I am proud to call home.”
Participants huddled together for warmth at points, helping each other keep their candles lit in the cold weather.
Environment Canada’s online weather tool said the temperature in Saskatoon was -17 C with a windchill of -25 C through the vigil.
— Chris Vandenbreekel (@Vandecision) February 1, 2017