Thousands of Canadians rally in solidarity with Ferguson
Canadians gathered in cities across Canada to show their solidarity with protesters south of the border on the heels of the controversial Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision not to indict a cop who shot an unarmed black teen.
“We feel the pain here too,” Saima Jamal, organizer of Calgary’s event, said.
Thunderous chants of “black lives matter” echoed throughout Toronto’s downtown core Tuesday night as demonstrators voiced their frustration over police brutality against black people.
An estimated 2,000 people attended the peaceful demonstration across from the U.S. consulate.
“I just felt it was important that Mike Brown be supported,” Rebecca, 19, who didn’t want her last name used, said of attending the rally. “And anyone, regardless of their colour or race, doesn’t have the right to kill another human being.”
Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot in August by a white police officer after robbing a convenience store in Ferguson.
: Please come to city hall at 6 , pleaee wear black and bring candles pic.twitter.com/Jmir7ZTHBQ— Fergusoncalgary (@fergusoncalgary) November 25, 2014
There has been widespread civil unrest in the St. Louis suburb, and elsewhere in the U.S., since his shooting.
Protests heated up again Monday — north and south of the border — after a grand jury decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson.
In a press release issued prior to the Toronto rally, organizers pointed to carding and racial profiling as evidence of racism by Toronto police.
At the protest, organizers also voiced angst toward other Greater Toronto Area services, criticizing Peel Regional Police in particular for their deadly shooting of Jermaine Carby, who was gunned down during a traffic stop in Brampton, Ont.
A relative who spoke at the Toronto rally, between chants of “respect our existence or expect our resistance” and other slogans, suggested police could have shot Carby in the leg instead of the chest.
About 200 people gathered in Calgary, shouting: "From Ferguson to Cowtown, we are with Michael Brown!"
"We're here in solidarity with Ferguson," Nyabuoy Gatbel, an organizer from Calgary's South Sudanese community, said.
"I'm very proud of Calgarians. To see this support, it shows that ... seeds are being planted, people want change and it's great to see them out here."
Chants of, "Who matters? Black people matter!" resonated amongst the crowd in Edmonton.
"This Rodney King all over again, this is Trayvon Martin all over again," Kassia Haynes, co-organizer or Edmonton’s rally, shouted out to the crowd of under 100 people.
At the end of the day, rally co-organizer Reakash Walters said the protest is about standing up to inequality.
“As Edmontonians, we believe in equality. As Canadians we value multiculturalism. And in order for us to really say those things with pride we have to take action when there are things that are happening that are racist and indicate inequality," Walters said.
"It's important for us to really stand behind our words with action."
Hundreds braved the cold in downtown Ottawa to hold a vigil for Brown.
“It's important to realize that Mike Brown isn't the only one, he's not the first one or the last one. This really needs to stop because black lives really matter and it's important to all be accountable for what we're doing,” Ikram Hamoud, one of the event's organizers, said.
— With files from Dani-Elle Dube, Chris Doucette, Trevor Robb and Jenna McMurray