Vancouver viaduct blocked by protesters in support of Black Lives Matter
Downtown Vancouver's busy Georgia Viaduct has been eerily empty all weekend thanks to protesters blocking entrances and exits to the massive twinned bridge.
The anti-racist encampment blocking the viaducts in Vancouver. I assume the viaducts were chosen to recognize Hogan’s Alley, which was a black neighborhood shut down by "urban renewal," especially the viaducts. See @hogans_alley and this doc: https://t.co/65kRwHekJD pic.twitter.com/16JwRytGws— Suzanna Crage (@SuzannaCrage) June 14, 2020
A small group of peaceful demonstrators in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have been occupying the space surrounding the viaduct since Saturday morning.
Like many other protests taking place across the country and the world right now, the ongoing viaduct blockade is meant to condemn racism and amplify calls for the defunding of police.
#listen— Buck Jolicoeur (@BuckJolicoeur) June 14, 2020
Happening right now.
I feel uncomfortable seeing #blacklivesmatter barely noticeable under this historical context.
Historically, the only black neighborhood in Vancouver was razed to the ground to make way for the Georgia viaduct. pic.twitter.com/SrzR8xSMOz
While not huge, with only about 100 people in attendance at its peak, the protest has been significantly disrupting traffic for nearly two days now and is generating much attention on social media.
The location of the demonstration is significant in that the viaduct currently stands atop what used to be a Black community called Hogan's Alley.
To many, the viaduct stands as a symbol of racism within our forms of government. That the city was happy to destroy the homes in Vancouver's most diverse neighbourhoods, and refused to acknowledge the actions of those who fought them every step of the way.— Ian Spence 🏳️🌈 (@ecnepsnai) June 14, 2020
Described as "a hub for Black citizens in the Strathcona neighbourhood," Hogan's Alley was razed to make way for the viaduct's on and off ramps during the 1960s.
Thank you to everyone who is currently protesting to reclaim the #GeorgiaViaducts to honour the vibrant Black life, culture & community that it destroyed.— Hogan's Alley Society (@hogans_alley) June 14, 2020
Newcomers: please bring food & drinks for the protestors staying over night. Remember to wear a mask and be safe! pic.twitter.com/wdDpzKzrID
"Today's Blockade is for our community. For the Black community that was removed from this place, and the Black community that is still alive and strong in the this city," reads a description of the protest event on BLM Vancouver's Facebook page.
TODAY in so-called Vancouver - if you're healthy and able - head to this peaceful action and stand in solidarity to honour Black Life that once thrived in #HogansAlley. Mask up, Social Distance, and be safe today fine folx ❤️ #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/kxhHTZ9ORV— Tonye Aganaba (@TonyeAganaba) June 13, 2020
"Do you know the story behind Hogan's Alley? The expropriation of the community that thrived here, and the City of Vancouver's intent to disperse and displace the Black people that called this place home?" wrote the organization of the area surrounding the protest site.
"Today, we work in solidarity with the protesters at the viaduct. They are reclaiming this space that was taken from us."
Also in Vancouver on Saturday was a larger protest calling for justice in the case of Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman from B.C. who was shot and killed by police in New Brunswick on June 4.
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