Calgary·Photos

Protest against racism and police brutality in Calgary draws thousands

"We don't just have a lot of people here, we have Hispanics, we have whites, we have Indigenous, we have Filipinos, Chinese ... all stand[ing] together and united," said Cecy Gaskin, one of as many as 2,000 Calgarians who marched through downtown Calgary on Wednesday in the third rally in the city this week against racism and police brutality.

It's the third time this week Calgarians have peacefully gathered in wake of George Floyd's death

As many as 2,000 Calgarians took to the streets Wednesday afternoon as part of the YYC Justice for All Victims of Police Brutality protest. 2:59

Thousands of Calgarians joined their voices with countless concurrent protests against racism and police brutality across the globe once again on Wednesday, marching from Kensington to city hall.

The march was the third anti-racism demonstration in Calgary this week in solidarity with widespread demonstrations that have swept the United States and around the world after the death of George Floyd — a 46-year-old black man who was killed after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.

The march was the third demonstration in the city in this week in solidarity with the widespread protests that have swept the United States and around the world after the death of George Floyd — a 46-year-old black man who was killed after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. A large portion of the attendees at Wednesday's march wore masks, and volunteers offered hand sanitizer to those who gathered because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Leah Hennel for CBC News)

Floyd's final words "I Can't Breathe" were chanted by the marchers in Calgary as they crossed the 10th Street bridge, along with other phrases such as "No Justice, No Peace" and "Black Lives Matter." Floyd's death is one in a long line of high-profile killings of people of colour in the U.S. involving police.

Cecy Gaskin was one of the protestors who took to the streets on Wednesday to fight against injustice.

"This is beautiful what's happening right now, it's amazing. But I strongly believe that we need to also focus on the injustice that is still happening," Gaskin said.

'This is beautiful what's happening right now, it's amazing. But I strongly believe that we need to also focus on the injustice that is still happening,' said protester Cecy Gaskin. (Elise Von Scheel/CBC)

"We're always being broken down by society and we're sick and tired of it."

She called the protest emotional and empowering. 

"We don't just have a lot of people here, we have Hispanics, we have whites, we have Indigenous, we have Filipinos, Chinese. It was one of the first times I've ever seen them all stand together and united."

A protester shows a photograph of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was killed after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. His death, one of the latest in a long line of black people who have been killed by police in the United States, was one of the catalysts for anti-racism demonstrations across the U.S., in Canada and around the world (Leah Hennel for CBC News)

Godfred Addai, a participant in the protest, said he had his own run in with police six years ago. 

"It happens right here in Calgary, in your backyard, right here: no justice here," he said.

The YYC Justice for All Victims of Police Brutality protest travelled through downtown Wednesday towards city hall, with some chanting 'no justice, no peace, no racist police.' (Leah Hennel for CBC News)

The protest began in the Kensington area at 2 p.m. before the main march group moved through downtown and toward city hall.

Just before they arrived, a counter-protester wearing a Trump T-shirt was handcuffed and led away by police after he tried to take the protest leader's megaphone.

A protestor was also transported to hospital after falling from a structure and sustaining a head injury.

Traffic throughout the city's downtown core was expected to be impacted throughout the day. Memorial Drive was reopened to traffic around 5 p.m. MT.

A candlelight vigil took place at Olympic Plaza later in the evening. 

Calgary police estimated somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 people were participating in the protest.

It was one of a series of anti-racism events planned this week.

On Monday, more than 1,000 Calgarians marched from East Village to City Hall.

On Sunday, a thunderstorm didn't prevent about 100 protesters from gathering in Fish Creek Park.

Another event held in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement is scheduled on Saturday, when a vigil will be held at 4 p.m. outside of City Hall.

The Calgary Police Service posted a statement to Twitter after the event concluded, writing that "there is much work to be done."

The YYC Justice for All Victims of Police Brutality protest began in the Kensington area at 2 p.m. before the main march group moved through downtown and toward City Hall. (Leah Hennel for CBC News)
Wednesday's event was the third Calgary protest prompted by the death of George Floyd, with another scheduled on Saturday. (Leah Hennel for CBC News)
The rally in Calgary was peaceful, starting off in Kensington and travelling to City Hall. (Leah Hennel for CBC News)
Calgarians turned out for a protest against police violence and racism following days of protests across the United States and Canada over the death of George Floyd. (Leah Hennel for CBC News)
In the evening, protesters gathered in Olympic Plaza to hear from a variety of speakers and performers. (Leah Hennel for CBC News)
Attendees gathered at Olympic Plaza in Calgary for a candlelight vigil to mourn those who have died at the hands of police. We have a real chance to use the current moment and set a new course, Dr. Tito Daodu says. (Leah Hennel for CBC News)

With files from Andrew Brown, Elise von Scheel and photographs from Leah Hennel

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now