Belleville, Ont. mayor condems ‘hateful and discriminatory’ behaviour during PM’s visit

The mayor of Belleville, Ont. is speaking out after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was swarmed by protesters at an event on Thursday.

Trudeau was in the eastern Ontario city to mark the seventh anniversary of his government’s Child Care Benefit and to meet with Mayor Neil Ellis.

During a visit to a farmers’ market, the prime minister was surrounded by protesters, some of them waving Trump flags, others shouting expletives. Around 100 protesters surrounded him and his motorcade and his event was cut short.

In a brief statement on the city of Belleville’s website on Saturday, Ellis said he took some time to reflect before addressing the scene that unfolded earlier in the week.

“While every Canadian has the right to protest, the hateful and discriminatory behavior displayed by some during the visit was absolutely unacceptable,” Ellis said.

“It is an honour to host the Prime Minister in our city and regardless of your political views, no person deserves the treatment he received during his time here. Freedom of speech and the right to protest can be a wonderful thing; it is a part of what makes democracy great. However, what happened on Thursday was far beyond that.”

Ellis thanked Trudeau on behalf of the city for visiting and said he hoped everyone could “move forward from this experience.”

Trudeau is in Toronto on Saturday, where he attended an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Black July, an anti-Tamil pogrom in Sri Lanka that occurred in 1983. He will also attend the Fun Philippines Festival and make an appearance on LuvBay Afrobeat Music Talk Radio.

–With files from The Canadian Press.

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