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106 Years Later, Vancouver Might Formally Apologize For Komagata Maru Incident

komagata maru

Photo: Vancouver Public Library

It’s been 106 years since Vancouver denied entry to hundreds of immigrants and the city may apologize for it now.

The federal and provincial government previously offered an official apology for the Komagata Maru incident, but now it’s Vancouver’s turn.

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In 1914, 376 people arrived in the city by ship from India. But upon arrival, the city denied them entry and made them remain onboard for two months.

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While most were forced to go back, under armed escort, 19 passengers were shot and killed by British soldiers. 

Justin Trudeau To Offer Formal Apology For Komagata Maru Incident

However, councillor Jean Swanson is introducing a motion Tuesday to formally apologize.

“It was a really racist thing that happened,” Swanson said to The Vancouver Sun. “The city was complicit in it, and I think the more you acknowledge things like this and bring them to the fore, the easier it is to prevent them from happening again.”

Swanson also hopes to declare May 23rd as Komagata Maru Remembrance Day, landing on the anniversary of the Komagata Maru sailing.

At the time, about 2,000 people met the ship on its arrival, in an anti-Asian rally. Vancouver’s then mayor Truman Baxter organized the event.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered an official apology in May 2016.

For more Vancouver stories, head to our News section.

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