Moderate student leader apologizes for Nazi salutes 0
Several young demonstrators gave the Nazi salute as they stood in front of the World Trade Centre Montreal on June 11, 2012. (PHILIPPE-OLIVIER CONTANT/QMI Agency)
MONTREAL - A moderate student leader has apologized to a Jewish organization after students gave Nazi salutes at recent protests, but radicals are showing no such contrition.
B'nai Brith Canada says it has accepted an apology from Martine Desjardins, whose FEUQ represents 125,000 university students.
Desjardins made the apology on Tuesday evening, a few hours after B'nai Brith issued a press release saying the one-armed salutes have caused "shock and outrage amongst the Jewish community."
Desjardin's press attache, Mathieu Le Blanc, told QMI Agency that Desjardins apologized to the Toronto-based Jewish group even though the FEUQ didn't organize the protests in question.
"We have to take responsibility for things that happen in this conflict with the government," Le Blanc said. "We send our apologies and we'll try our best to stop this thing."
The nighttime rallies where demonstrators gave the Nazi salute have been listed on the website of the radical CLASSE student group.
CLASSE had a very different response than FEUQ when contacted by QMI Agency.
A spokesman refused to even admit that CLASSE played any role in the protests.
"I don't think the student leaders are the right people to demand apologies from," said the spokesman, who didn't want his name to be used.
"These are spontaneous initiatives."
CLASSE has previously taken heat for refusing to unconditionally condemn outbreaks of violence at student rallies.