Protest against racism and police brutality in Calgary draws thousands
It's the third time this week Calgarians have peacefully gathered in wake of George Floyd's death
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.
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.
"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."
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 protest began in the Kensington area at 2 p.m. before the main march group moved through downtown and toward city hall.
A huge crowd of anti-racism protesters are crossing the 10th street bridge in Calgary. <a href="https://t.co/xaCWcuri8U">pic.twitter.com/xaCWcuri8U</a>—@browncbc
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.
The main march group has arrived across from city hall. Right before they got here, a Trump supporter was arrested by police after a verbal altercation with a group of protestors <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yyc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yyc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackLivesMatter?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackLivesMatter</a> <a href="https://t.co/GMKcwlFAYO">pic.twitter.com/GMKcwlFAYO</a>—@elisevonscheel
Everyone I’ve talked to at this protest in Calgary has said the same thing: Canada treats racism like a U.S. issue, but they want people to know it’s here in Canadian cities too <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yyc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yyc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/georgefloyd?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#georgefloyd</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackLivesMatter?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackLivesMatter</a> <a href="https://t.co/2j2Mdu44cT">pic.twitter.com/2j2Mdu44cT</a>—@elisevonscheel
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."
For the second time this week, over a thousand Calgarians gathered to have their voices heard. We continue to be proud of our city’s ability to come together, be heard and support one another. We hear you, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yyc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yyc</a>. There is much work to be done and we are committed to serving you.—@CalgaryPolice
Anti-racism protesters marched from Kensington to Olympic Plaza today. Hopefully these shots capture the size of Calgary's third <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackLivesMatter?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackLivesMatter</a> protest this week. <a href="https://t.co/raSCHste4P">pic.twitter.com/raSCHste4P</a>—@browncbc
With files from Andrew Brown, Elise von Scheel and photographs from Leah Hennel