A flag proclaiming the National March for Life in Canada flew for just a short time in the nation’s capital Thursday before abortion activists’ demands prompted city officials to remove it.
The annual march drew tens of thousands of pro-lifers to the streets of Ottawa on Thursday, where they urged the government to protect all lives by ending abortion and euthanasia.
Prior to the march, pro-lifers requested that the city allow them to fly the flag outside the Ottawa City Hall and adopt a proclamation for the pro-life march, as allowed by city government protocols; and city leaders granted the requests, CTV News reports.
On Thursday morning, pro-lifers held a flag raising ceremony for the flag, which displayed the words “National March for Life Ottawa” printed in white and red on a gray background, according to the report.
However, when abortion activists discovered the flag later Thursday, they sent a stream of complaints to Mayor Jim Watson. Several pro-abortion city council members also complained. By 3 p.m., city officials took down the flag, according to the report.
“As the request from this anti-choice group met the test of both policies, the proclamation was issued, as it has been for many years,” city clerk and solicitor Rick O’Connor wrote in a letter about the incident.
O’Connor said the city council has issued proclamations for the March for Life for many years, at the pro-lifers’ request, but this is the first year pro-lifers asked to fly the flag.
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Here’s more from the Ottawa Citizen:
Frank Barrett, 88, of Ottawa said he convinced the city to fly the March for Life flag after discussing the matter with the city’s protocol office.
At first, he was pitching to fly a different flag — one that the protocol department deemed didn’t match the official proclamation — so he searched for an old March for Life flag that would fit the bill.
The Citizen contacted him when the flag was lowered.
“Fine, I’ll call them, because it was supposed to be up until 8:22 p.m.,” said Barrett, an RCMP veteran. “That’s wrong. I was going to congratulate them for letting us do this.
“I hope there’s a lot in the paper about this.”
A pro-lifer at the march also told CTV that the city has allowed flags proclaiming gay pride and other issues to fly on its grounds in the past.
In response to the situation, Mayor Watson asked city officials to review their policies about flags and proclamations, CBC reports. He also referred to the pro-life flag raising as a “mistake.”
“But you know, mistakes are made and we have to learn from them and move on and come up with a policy that is better and fairer and that doesn’t get us into these divisive debates,” Watson said.
Canada is one of the most anti-life countries in the world, allowing abortions for any reason up to birth. Assisted suicide and euthanasia also recently became legal in the nation.
This year was the 20th anniversary of the pro-life march, according to the Catholic Register. Photos and social media posts from Thursday indicate that the crowd size was likely greater than 25,000, but LifeNews could not find an official estimate.
The CBC reported “hundreds” of people attended the march while other news outlets reported numbers in the “thousands.” Mainstream news outlets tend to vastly underestimate March for Life numbers.