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    A woman speaks while wearing a yellow badge as Mayor Philipe Tomlinson looks on during a council meeting, as shown in these screengrabs, for the borough of Outremont in Montreal on Monday March 5, 2018

    Outrage as Yellow Badges Worn to Protest Jewish Use of School Buses in Montreal

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    In a move to get their point across, a group of Montreal citizens has decided to wear yellow badges - a symbol of the Holocaust, when Jews were forced to wear yellow stars under Nazi rule - at a borough council meeting.

    Ginette Chartre, a citizen of Outremont borough in Montreal, along with other citizens, have sparked outrage by wearing yellow badges to protest the use of school buses by the local Jewish community.

    However, Chartre said that she had been made the real victim herself, adding that she wouldn't stop wearing the badge.

    "We are living an injustice. We are being persecuted by them," Chartre said.

    Outremont's Hasidic Jewish community has been using school buses to move around the neighborhood. Chartre and other citizens claim that the vehicles block the streets, causing inconvenience, especially in summer and what she called odd hours during the day and evening.

    Earlier this week, Chartre, together with other residents, attended the Outremont council meeting wearing the yellow badges and tried to distribute them to other visitors.

    The incident has provoked criticism, not only from the part of the Hasidic Jewish community. Thus, according to Outremont Councilor Fanny Magini, she and her colleagues were shocked when they saw people entering the room with yellow badges.

    Outremont resident Jennifer Dorner said that her Hasidic friend began to cry after she saw the yellow rectangles, as they "triggered an intense wave of emotion for her."

    Rabbi of an Orthodox Jewish congregation in Montreal Reuben Poupko said the people should "embrace tactics that engender communication and dialogue," if they were truly concerned about solving municipal issues.

    "And certainly, some of the tactics employed (Monday night) were not designed to enhance the possibility of resolution but were designed to be provocative," he said.

    At the same time, Chartre noted that the yellow badges were just about the color of school buses and had nothing to do with the Holocaust.

    "Should we change the colour of school buses now because it reminds (Jews) of their past?" she said. "What about the yellow street markers on the roads? If we wore a yellow hat, would that be better?"

    The incident with the badges is not the first dispute between the local Jewish community and Chartre, supported by a handful of other citizens.

    Back in 2016, citizens voted against allowing Hasidic Jews to open more synagogues on the main street in Outremont, in a move sparking accusations of anti-Semitism.


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