This is what the protests for George Floyd looked like in cities across Canada
The protests that erupted in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes have spawned demonstrations across the continent over the last week.
In Canada, people in cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax have taken to the streets to call for an end to police brutality, justice for Black lives like Floyd's, and to draw attention to the pervasive systemic racism underpinning such tragedies.
This is why it was important to protest and march for Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto #TorontoProtest #JusticeForRegis #Toronto #NotAnotherBlackLife #RegisKorchinskiPaquet https://t.co/wPUZyrMjVT pic.twitter.com/bAFoOM5zlo— blogTO (@blogTO) May 31, 2020
And while things south of the border have gotten violent in recent days, our protests have continued peacefully with little-to-no conflict between protesters and police.
America is broken. pic.twitter.com/DzjyL879WY— the bicycle formerly known as kyle (@theBicyKyle) May 31, 2020
In Vancouver, a small-scale march took place Saturday evening, where residents gathered to block off rainy streets in the Downtown Eastside, chanting "black lives matter."
More than 100 people are marching through downtown Vancouver calling for justice for George Floyd, the Minnesota man who died Monday after a police officer pressed a knee to his neck until he was unresponsive. The crowd is heading northbound on Main St. @cbcnewsbc pic.twitter.com/pGDeBOS7D4— Cory Correia (@CoryCorreia) May 31, 2020
The event is one of many others scheduled to take place in the city over the coming week, including the primary one, which starts in front of the city's art gallery this evening.
thank you to everyone who organized and attended the black lives matter protest in downtown vancouver today!! it was an amazing statement being made by amazing people. i hope to see you all at the art gallery tomorrow! #vancouver #BLACK_LIVES_MATTER pic.twitter.com/RbjZtQXMYJ— beks ✿ #BLM (@la6oums) May 31, 2020
The demonstrations have so far been peaceful and civil, with no interactions with police.
The voice behind this speech is that of artist, activist and educator @Keoshaloveee. Learn more about the important work she does here: https://t.co/6x2LoKdF6q #JusticeForRegis https://t.co/d8RFFJIBBy— blogTO (@blogTO) May 31, 2020
In Toronto, a massive crowd of thousands flooded Christie Pits Park on Saturday afternoon, traveling down Bloor Street toward Bay and College. Demonstrations also took place in nearby municipalities, like Hamilton.
Massive protest in Toronto. Black lives matter! #JusticeForRegis #JusticeForFloyd pic.twitter.com/pRV7phPS8e— Nicholas Thompson (@meetnicholas) May 30, 2020
The movement was driven largely by the death of 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who fell from a 24th-floor balcony of a High Park apartment building during an interaction with police on May 27.
Stunning aerial views from today’s protest downtown #torontoprotest #JusticeForRegis pic.twitter.com/XvzVggAptm— Tina Yazdani (@TinaYazdani) May 30, 2020
The aerial views of the peaceful protest were absolutely awe-inspiring, showing the strength and sheer enormity of the movement.
Toronto Police Chief @marksaunderstps makes a brief appearance at #JusticeForRegis rally.— Brandon Gonez (@brandongonez) May 30, 2020
He says, “I just want to make sure everyone is okay and we’re looking for a peaceful protest as possible” pic.twitter.com/ke7XlTwhwR
In typical Canadian fashion, participants were seen engaging in peaceful, meaningful conversations with one another and with police, and even picking up after themselves.
A couple of signs from the #torontoprotest today. I’m so proud of everyone who came out to rep and support black lives. It was beautiful and emotional to see the unity pic.twitter.com/MpGAghEIo0— 𝒯 (@_TATYANAFISHER) May 31, 2020
Meanwhile, a rally for Korchinski-Paquet, who was proud of her Nova Scotian roots, was also held in Halifax on Saturday afternoon, starting downtown at Victoria Park.
People in the rally are chanting no justice, no peace, no racist police outside Halifax Regional Police HQ pic.twitter.com/IDx2kJe0lh— Elizabeth Chiu (@ChiuCBC) May 30, 2020
Organized by the Justice for Regis Nova Scotia Coalition, the hundreds-strong march was against the deaths of countless people of colour across the continent who have died in police custody, including Eisha Hudson and Jason Collins in Winnipeg, and D-Andre Campbell in Peel, Ontario.
Pandemic doesn't mean we accept injustice. #protests #Halifax pic.twitter.com/gVRIpHzezK— dooppy Ⓥ (@Dooppy) May 30, 2020
"Across Canada and in the United States, we have seen during this crisis that Black and Indigenous lives are not only disproportionately affected by COVID-19 due to racism, marginalization, and historical deprivation, but that our communities are also targeted by police for enforcement," a release for the event read.
Sights and sounds from the #JusticeForRegis solidarity rally and march held in Halifax. The family of 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet has roots in Nova Scotia. The rally was organized by the Justice for Regis Nova Scotia Coalition. pic.twitter.com/hMBnj7cPxH— Alexa MacLean (@AlexaMacLean902) May 31, 2020
The city's chief of police expressed his support of the movement, taking to social media to thank activists for "attending and participating peacefully."
There’s no place for racism, anywhere in the world. Many unanswered questions & a long road ahead. The commitment must not waver. Today hundreds gathered to have their voices heard in Victoria Park. Thank you for attending and participating peacefully.— Dan Kinsella (@DanKinsellaHRP) May 30, 2020
More civil action is scheduled to take place in Montreal at 5 p.m. today, while other demonstrations continue to pop up around North America.
People are being advised to ensure they know who the organizers are before attending such events, and also to wear masks, maintain a two metres distance from others and generally keep safety during the pandemic in mind.
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