Somber ceremonies in Montreal on Sunday marked the anniversary of the anti-feminist rampage that left 14 women dead at a university campus 20 years ago.
In what was the deadliest shooting spree in Canadian history, Marc Lepine, 25, fired a semiautomatic rifle at women in classrooms and the cafeteria of the Ecole Polytechnique at the University of Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989.
His suicide note said he was fighting against feminists who had ruined his life.
The names of Lepine’s victims were read out at a downtown park and a minute of silence was held to remember them 20 years to the day since they were killed. Many in the crowd cheered as speakers highlighted the importance of doing everything possible to eliminate violence against women.
The weekend was marked by several commemorative events, including a conference on violence against women at the University of Quebec in Montreal, the gathering at a downtown park to protest violence and a photo exhibit of feminist artists.
“My parents lost their only daughter. Annie, so pretty, intelligent and filled with curiosity,” said Daniel Turcotte, addressing the hundreds gathered at a private ceremony at Notre Dame Basilica to share their collective grief.
Dozens of floral bouquets were laid at a commemorative plaque on the University of Montreal campus to honor the women.
The Montreal Massacre persuaded the government to stiffen its gun-control laws by launching a national gun registry program in 1991. But last month, the federal government voted by a slim majority to kill it, a move that has fueled an emotional response from survivors and family members of victims.
“It is disturbing,” said Sylvie Haviernick, who lost her sister Maud in the attack, and has since been a vocal supporter of the gun registry. “We really have the feeling we are stepping back, so this means we’ll need to redo, maybe better, what we’ve done 20 years ago.”
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