Thousands demonstrate in front of Parliament
Friday 5 June 2020
Downtown Ottawa was the scene of an event unprecedented in the history of the national capital, as thousands of people: Black, white, brown, young, and old, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, agnostic and more, demonstrated peacefully Friday against racism in Canada. Although the catalyst for the march was the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, USA, speaker after speaker emphasized that Blacks in Canada encounter racism as a part of their daily reality. The death of Abdirahman Abdi in a takedown by Ottawa police in July 2016 was in the mind of many, as the “Black Lives Matter” and “No peace no justice” messages gathered momentum during this extraordinary event, which started in front of Parliament Buildings before moving to the US embassy. All this with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in attendance, joining the protesters in the hugely symbolic “taking the knee”, in honour of the late George Floyd.
“There is no middle ground here,” Rev. Anthony Bailey of Parkdale United Chuch, told the crowd. “You are either a racist or an anti-racist.” Other Black community leaders lent their voices to this message, including Paula Whitelocke, Gwen Madiba, Yvette Ashiri and Godlove Ngwafusi.
The protest march in Ottawa was one of many in several urban and rural areas of Canada: Toronto, Halifax, Manotick, Vancouver and Montreal to name a few. The killing of George Floyd has also ignited waves of similar protests not only in the United Sates, but in far-reaching areas like Brazil, Nigeria and the UK.
All photos credit: Dahabo Omer