REGINA – Immigrants, refugees and other concerned residents rallied at Victoria Park Saturday morning, urging the government to help those fleeing violence in the Middle East.
Organizers were initially concerned about attendance numbers at the rally, as it was planned at the last-minute. But today, more than 60 people showed their support for bringing more refugees into Canada.
The residents re-enacted the viral image of a young Syrian boy washed up on a shoreline by having their children lie face-down in the cement.
The newcomers can relate to the struggle the migrants are facing as they flee violence in their home countries.
“My brother was killed in Iraq. My son killed in Egypt,” mourned Mohammed Waleed. “Two of my sisters are still in Iraq. They’re afraid! Afraid to go to work. Afraid to go to prayer.”
Waleed fled his home country of Iraq 10 years ago, seeking asylum in Egypt. But still, he didn’t feel safe. Eight months ago he immigrated to Canada in search of peace and freedom.
Many at the rally could relate, having fled violence at home and coming to Canada as refugees.
“In Syria we have war. Syria is not safe,” said Maysaa Ghalioun.
Organizers said immigrants are generally hard working, grateful for the opportunity they have been given to restart.
“Let me assure you they are not a burden. They’re going to contribute to the economy of Canada, for sure,” said Syed Moazzam with the Pakistan Canadian Cultural Association. “Whether they come in the skilled worker category, or asylum, or any other category.”
While Moazzam appreciates our country’s refugee policies, he says more must be done to protect the vulnerable migrants.
“Take more applications and faster. We are not in war, we are the victims of the war. Help us. Don’t let us die in the sea or the middle of the desert.”