Un­der­stand­ing Canada’s yel­low vest move­ment

Here, it goes be­yond eco­nomic con­cerns, tack­ling xeno­pho­bia, na­tion­al­ism and anti-glob­al­ism

StarMetro Edmonton - - EDMONTON - OMAR MOSLEH OMAR MOSLEH/STARMETRO More: thes­tar.com/ed­mon­ton

The voice thun­der­ing through the speak­ers warns of suf­fer­ing, dis­ease and fi­nan­cial ruin, as yel­low-vested devo­tees re­spond with chants of “No sur­ren­der!” and “We will re­sist!”

This is not a ser­mon pre­dict­ing the end of days or a fired-up mili­tia pre­par­ing for war.

It’s a Dec. 15 rally of the yel­low vest move­ment, which came to Canada a cou­ple weeks be­fore. The ral­lies have taken place at the Al­berta Leg­is­la­ture and Churchill Square in Ed­mon­ton ev­ery Satur­day for the last month. And it looks like it’s not go­ing any­where any time soon, with an­other rally planned for this Satur­day at Churchill Square.

The move­ment orig­i­nated in France in Novem­ber with ral­lies and marches in some cases erupt­ing into largescale ri­ots and ar­rests. It has since spread glob­ally and is gain­ing trac­tion in Canada.

While it started in Eu­rope as a labour move­ment protest­ing in­come in­equal­ity, busi­ness-friendly eco­nomic

re­form and a high cost of liv­ing, here it has ex­panded be­yond eco­nomic con­cerns, delv­ing into anti-glob­al­ism, na­tion­al­ism, anti-gov­ern­ment sen­ti­ment and xeno­pho­bia.

The crowd fluc­tu­ates in

size but eas­ily at­tracts hun­dreds each week. The ral­lies have at times been tense, with counter-protesters ac­cus­ing the yel­low vesters of be­ing racist, with sev­eral shout­ing matches re­sult­ing in fist fights.

The yel­low vesters call for build­ing pipe­lines, de­mand a clam­p­down on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and de­cry Canada sign­ing the UN Mi­gra­tion Pact, a non-bind­ing treaty that aims to im­prove global co-op­er­a­tion on in­ter­na­tional

mi­gra­tion.

“This is a bla­tant at­tack on our na­tional sovereignty and our in­di­vid­ual free­doms as a na­tion state,” a speaker bel­lows to a crowd at the Al­berta Leg­is­la­ture grounds.

A pro­tes­tor at­tends a rally of the yel­low vest move­ment at the Al­berta Leg­is­la­ture in Ed­mon­ton on Dec. 15. The move­ment orig­i­nated in France in Novem­ber. It has since spread glob­ally and is gain­ing trac­tion in Canada.

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