burlington protest

Thousands just marched across the GTA to support Black Lives Matter

Nearly two weeks after the murder of George Floyd and nine days after the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, demonstrations in support of the rights of Black lives continue to take place across the continent.

Along with the hundreds of protests south of the border, last weekend saw protests taking place in Canadian cities such as TorontoVancouver, Montreal and Halifax, with over a dozen more slated to take place nationwide in the coming days.

And on June 4, multiple cities near Toronto held their own rallies against anti-Black racism.

In Burlington, thousands took to the streets between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., marching from New Street to City Hall bearing signs and chants for Black Lives Matter. The event was peaceful and safe, with participants wearing face masks and socially distancing in the courtyard of the governmental building while they took a knee, held a moment of silence and then sang the national anthem.

Halton Police helped to block off streets for the rally and also apparently marched with the crowd, showing their support for the cause — unlike police in U.S. cities, who have been filmed physically assaulting and seriously injuring people peacefully demonstrating, standing with their hands up or even walking home. 

A short drive northeast, another protest happened in nearby Oakville, where approximately 300 people likewise marched against race-based police brutality starting at 3 p.m.

The event was apparently organized "on the fly" after the local chapter of Black Lives Matter postponed their initial rally. BLM intends on holding another demonstration in the city in the near future once they coordinate with local black-owned businesses. Details of that march are due to be announced later today.

And, an hour or so north of Toronto, somewhere between 600 and 1,000 people marched peacefully in Barrie, where police told City News that demonstrators abided by health and safety orders amid the pandemic, and that they were impressed by the "tone" of the event.

The march began at 5 p.m. at Barrie City Hall and ended at the Meridian Place outdoor amphitheatre where participants listened to various speakers and had eight minutes and 56 seconds of silence to mark the amount of time that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was kneeling on the neck of George Floyd.

Marches in GTA cities like Kitchener and Waterloo also took place earlier this week, and approximately 5,000 people are expected at a rally in Ottawa later this afternoon, while stores across downtown Toronto are boarding themselves up in anticipation of a number of unconfirmed demonstrations planned for the weekend.

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