Thousands of parents in cities across Canada participated in the “1 Million March for Children” Wednesday with the goal of protecting their children from LGBTQ indoctrination and sexualization in public schools.  

The Canadian Press reports the marchers accused their school boards of exposing children to “gender ideology” and said parents have the right to know whether their children are questioning their gender identity. At the same time, counter-protesters pushed for children to be taught LGBTQ+ inclusion and accused concerned parents of importing U.S. culture wars into their country.

In Toronto’s Queens Park, thousands of protesters on both sides faced off against each other, according to CBC News

One demonstrator told the outlet he was at the park to “support children and the importance to maintain their innocence,” voicing his concerns about gender curriculum and age-inappropriate books in schools.

“There’s a lot of political rhetoric going on right now about what’s happening in our schools,” Nathan McMillan told the CBC. “I think it’s important that we keep kids out of these important discussions that really are between parents and their children. Teachers and institutions, unions, big money, they shouldn’t be having these types of conversations with kids in such an overt fashion.”

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Peel District School Board (PDSB), Durham District School Board (DDSB) and Halton District School Board (HDSB) all said they supported the LGBTQ community in statements issued before the protests. 

An estimated crowd of 2,000 demonstrators and 30 counter-protestors gathered outside of Mississauga’s City Hall with shouts of “leave our kids alone,” coming from the parents, CBC News reported. 

One mother told the outlet the crowd of demonstrators “will be a start for all parents who don’t approve {of} this kind of ideology indoctrinated in our kid’s minds.” 

“We are not minority against minority. We are against ideology for kids,” Lubna Alhares told the CBC.

Meanwhile, in the country’s capital of Ottawa, thousands of other parents and their children also took part in the march. 

The group “Moms for Liberty” tweeted a video showing scenes from the march. 

“‘Leave Our Kids Alone’ is the rallying cry of parents across Canada and America. We do NOT co-parent with the government,” the group wrote. 

The organizers of the marches told The Canadian Press they were protesting the “premature sexualization and potentially harmful indoctrination” of children but were not protesting against LGBTQ people. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted about the protests happening in cities across his country but offered no words of support to the parents who were protesting against the LGBTQ agenda in their schools. Instead, he termed the parents’ protests as “hate.”

“Let me make one thing very clear: Transphobia, homophobia, and biphobia have no place in this country,” Trudeau wrote. “We strongly condemn this hate and its manifestations, and we stand united in support of 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians across the country – you are valid and you are valued.”

The Ottawa Police Department was prepared for the marches, and had numerous officers assigned during the protests, separating the demonstrators and counter-protesters.

Event organizer Kamel El-Cheikh told the crowd that gathered on Parliament’s lawn that Sept. 20 will be known as “Families and Kids Liberation Day,” according to The Post Millennial.

“We’re just starting. September 20 will be Families and Kids Liberation Day. We will be relentless. We will be unapologetic. From Victoria, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa we will defend our children and parents’ rights at all costs. Remember, we are the powerful majority. We are one nation under God. God keep our land glorious and free,” El-Cheikh said. 

He told the outlet the march was “celebrating Canada’s beauty.”

“We’re gonna bring Canadians together again because Canadians have been protesting from coast to coast organically … We brought together Protestant Christians and Catholics and evangelicals and Muslims and then they’re coming together to protect Canada’s kids. Isn’t that lovely?” El-Cheikh said. 

In Regina, hundreds gathered outside of Saskatchewan’s legislative building for the march, according to The Canadian Press

One demonstrator told the outlet she doesn’t want her children to be exposed to gender issues while in school. 

“I don’t want them to be educated on whether they are a girl or a boy,” Jashandeep Dhillon said. “Let them be what they want to be. If he decides in his life, when he’s an adult, if he wants to change, I’m OK with that.”

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