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Hundreds turn out for Missoula pro-refugee rally - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Hundreds turn out for Missoula pro-refugee rally

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MISSOULA -

The on-going refugee crisis is a wellspring of controversy and the debate is continuing here in Missoula. 

All over the nation, groups are standing up in support of and against the resettlement of refugees fleeing Syria.

Organizers of the March Against Hate estimate that over 700 hundred people marched from the red XXX's on North Higgins to a Tuesday evening rally at Caras Park, adding that they want to change the conversation concerning resettlement.

Marchers carried signs in support of the Muslim and Arab communities in Montana with marchers saying they took to the streets not just for the sake of refugees, but to bring attention to problems with prejudice, intimidation and violence all around the world.

Representatives from groups like Soft Landing Missoula and the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center spoke in support of the Missoula community opening its arms to refugees from the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Mayor John Engen said the rally is a compliment to the Missoula community.

"Its a great reminder of who we are and what we stand for, and what a difference we can make when we're together. When we're thinking about one another. When we're caring for one another. It's very Missoula."

The event was organized partially in response to threats that have been leveled against Soft Landing Missoula, a group that supports bringing refugees to Missoula.

The Tuesday evening march came a week after hundreds of people gathered in Ravalli County to express concerns over the possible resettlement of refugees here in Montana.

Marchers say they're hopeful the event will help begin a constructive conversation about the future of refugees in Montana. 

Five Montana cities hosted refugee rallies on Tuesday -- including in Kalispell.

- Eric Clements contributed to this report.

RELATED: Downtown Missoula march will show support for refugees

RELATED: March to support refugee resettlement in Missoula planned

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