Second day of anti-racism protests in Vancouver draws thousands
Vancouver was the site of a second major round of protests against police impunity and anti-Black racism on Sunday, as residents of cities across the country and the continent continue to rally in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and countless others in incidents involving authorities.
Vancouver police now estimate around 3,500 people have gathered around the art gallery. Speakers continue to share stories of oppression. All surrounding streets have been closed @cbcnewsbc pic.twitter.com/sKVO2KEcwO— Cory Correia (@CoryCorreia) June 1, 2020
Thousands in the west coast city, which also had a smaller march for the cause on Saturday, took to the streets, meeting in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery at 5 p.m. local time Sunday evening. Official estimates say there were upwards of 3,500 present.
The demonstration was impressively non-violent, unlike the one that took place in Montreal on the same day, with no tear gas, destruction, or arrests.
Snaps from yesterday’s peaceful protest for Black Lives in Vancouver. I never took this place to be a harbour for social justice champions but wow, last night blew my mind. The chants literally roared down the streets. Power to the people.✊🏼✊🏻✊🏾✊🏿 pic.twitter.com/FSFWDgn5aq— Noor (@hmngbird_) June 1, 2020
The event was organized by local youth leader Jacob Callender-Prasad, who had asked attendees to keep things peaceful in a social media post leading up to the event.
"I can't stress this enough: no rioting tomorrow. We do not need to riot in Vancouver, we do not need to destroy our community, that's not needed here," he said in a video posted by Black Vancouver on Saturday. "If you see anyone tomorrow who is trying to start a riot, please stop them from doing so."
And, it seemed that everyone on the scene heeded Callender-Prasad's words.
The city's Black Lives Matter chapter was notably absent from the rally due to COVID-19 concerns.
"We do not feel that we can ensure the safety of our community in public protest at this time," the chapter said in a Facebook post.
"Furthermore, the family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet has asked that no protest be held in their daughter's name. We will respect that. Right now, our priority and concern is keeping Black people safe and promoting some rest."
Yesterday's #vancouverprotest was big. White allies/advocates, don't let that energy fade today/this week/this year/ever -- it's a privilege that it even could. Educate yourself and keep showing up. #BlackLivesMatter #IndigenousLivesMatter #YVR pic.twitter.com/GDCf9KmRDc— Claire Casher (@clairecasher) June 1, 2020
More gatherings — which have so far seemed to include health and safety measures like face masks, hand sanitizer distribution and some social distancing amid the pandemic — are planned for Canadian cities such as Montreal this upcoming weekend.
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his press conference today, "we can't pretend that racism doesn’t exist here" north of the border as hundreds of riots in the U.S. continue to take place.
"Anti-Black racism is real, unconscious bias is real, systemic discrimination is real, and they happen here in Canada," he said, giving his support to those demonstrating nationwide.
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