“MARKHAM SAY NO TO ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSERS,” another read. “ILLEGAL FREE RIDER NOT INVITED.” “Say NO to Mayor Frank!” read several signs. Others played off the recent Muslim terrorist shooting rampage in Toronto: “Do Not Let Tragedy Happen In Markham.”
National Post (h/t Stinder) At issue was a rumour that Markham was about to agree to house as many as 5,000 asylum seekers in unused buildings, after Toronto asked for help accommodating an overflow.
From the moment a protester grabbed a counter-protester’s megaphone and hurled it into the fountain of the Markham Civic Centre, Saturday’s demonstration against illegal border crossings and their effect on suburban Toronto degenerated quickly into violence and anger.
Police arrived to separate men who had thrown a few punches, and others who seemed about to, including one man who was pushing another as he held up a sign reading “Not In My Back Yard,” according to video captured by Ming Pao Daily News.
It was a small rally of a few dozen mainly Chinese-Canadian protesters in Markham, a city northeast of Toronto, and hundreds of kilometres from any land border with the United States. Nevertheless, as the demonstration was met by a smaller group of pro-refugee protesters, it became a flashpoint in the North American refugee crisis, with Markham’s mayor, Frank Scarpitti, as the unlikely main target.