Canada anti-racism protests continue with big crowds in Halifax and Calgary
As people all over North America continue to take to the streets to protest anti-Black racism and police brutality, residents of both Halifax and Calgary gathered yesterday to hold peaceful protests of their own.
In Halifax, thousands showed up to march down Spring Garden Road, leading police to block off the street entirely to make way for protesters.
Several protests across the continent have turned violent in recent days, such as the one in Montreal, with a few resorting to rioting and looting and police using tear gas on protesters.
But the Halifax protest remained peaceful throughout, as demanded by community organizer Trayvone Clayton.
Many protesters wore masks in an effort to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases following the event, though photos show clearly that maintaining a two-metre distance between people is near impossible at a protest where thousands are present.
Photos posted online also show demonstrators taking a knee in solidarity with those fighting for the same cause across the continent, and several respected activists and speakers were present to address the crowd.
The protest ended with a peaceful celebration filled with music and dance. And though some criticized the fact that it turned into a "block party," others said the celebratory music and dance in Halifax helped "release the tension its native blacks are experiencing from the trauma [they] have and continue to endure."
Meanwhile, Calgary held its second anti-Black racist protest in recent days, with an impressive turnout yesterday of more than 1,500 people.
The protest came a day after the city's first call-to-action following the death of George Floyd, a 25 year-old Black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota on May 25.
This protest, too, was peaceful, and demonstrators also took a knee in solidarity with those across North America.
Protesters marched across downtown Calgary to city hall, and they chanted things like "Say his name" and "I can't breathe."
We protested today in Calgary! Everyone came out and stood with us in solidarity! Indigenous, Latinx, Philippine, White, South Asia. Everyone stood there for black people and with them!#BLMCanada #BlackLivesMatter #PoliceBrutality #protests pic.twitter.com/TMMVFjqNfW— Sinit (@Sinit_Abraha) June 2, 2020
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has openly expressed his support for the protests taking place across the country.
Speaking during his daily press conference yesterday, the PM acknowledged that anti-Black racism is alive and well in Canada.
"We can't pretend that racism doesn't exist here," he said. "Anti-Black racism is real, unconscious bias is real, systemic discrimination is real, and they happen here in Canada."
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