WRPS says it gives 'full support' to today's Solidarity March for Black Lives Matter
‘Please know that you have the full support of your police service,’ Chief Larkin says
Today's solidarity march in Kitchener for Black Lives Matter has the full support of the Waterloo Regional Police Services, Chief Bryan Larkin said.
The march, scheduled for 5 p.m., is being organized by local black rights activist Salem Debs and comes amid global outrage over the police killing of George Floyd in the United States.
"Our community will come together to walk through downtown Kitchener as part of a peaceful Solidarity March for Black Lives Matter. If you are taking part, please know that you have the full support of your police service," Larkin said in a news release.
"As your Chief of Police, I want you to know that our members will be there to not only ensure your safety and the safety of the public, but to show that we stand united with you.
"They will ensure you have the support needed to practise your democratic right and have your voice heard," Larkin added.
Event being held during health crisis
The police chief acknowledged that the "event is being held during a health crisis," but said, "we also realize that you are hurting. You are grieving. And you are justifiably angry."
Larkin said this is a time for all to come together in an attempt to heal, to show support, and to pave the way for a better future for all.
Health and regional officials have also expressed their support for the march but say they are worried it might be difficult to maintain physical distancing at such a large gathering.
Organizer Selam Debs told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo that wearing masks will be mandatory for the hundreds of people expected to take part in the march.
She said they have also asked for people to maintain social distancing of two metres from each other throughout the march, to march in groups of five or less and to maintain a distance of six feet between each group.
Individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and follow the live feed of the march via the event's Facebook page, Debs said.