Montreal

Anti-police brutality, racism march in Montreal draws hundreds

The Black Rose Alliance, mostly made up of university and college-age activists, is pushing for the defunding of Montreal police and legal accountability for police violence and misconduct.

This is the latest in a series of protests calling for change from police and government officials

Several hundred people attended the protest on Canada Day in Montreal, many of whom were wearing masks. Justine Archibald Coglan, 18, was one of the organizers of the event. (Verity Stevenson/CBC)

A crowd of several hundred people marched from Place Émilie-Gamelin on Wednesday afternoon, as part of an anti-police brutality, anti-racism demonstration.

Justine Archibald Coglan, 18, helped organize the event as a member of the Black Rose Alliance.

"We're here to fight for justice for the Black community," she said. 

The Black Rose Alliance, mostly made up of university and college-age activists, is pushing for the defunding of Montreal police and legal accountability for police violence and misconduct.

The protest is "a testament to how my generation is going to be the ​one to provide real change," she said.

Mamadou Dieye is a leader with the Black Rose Alliance and co-organizer of the protest. (Verity Stevenson/CBC)

Mamadou Dieye, also a co-organizer of the event, said that the conversation about racism and policing in the city has failed to evolve because politicians and police leaders are on the defensive.

"Instead of admitting there is a problem and working to fix it, they are simply denying there is a problem and, since no one holds them accountable, I feel like nothing is getting done," he said.

For Dieye, it's a fight fuelled by his personal experiences with racism and discrimination.

"I do not want my kids to have to grow up and live in a place where they are not equal. I don't want them to have to go through the same struggle I did. If that means I have to work twice as hard to make sure that this stops, I will do it."

Several hundred people came out on Canada Day to protest police brutality and demand action. (Verity Stevenson/CBC)

For many, the fact that the march took place on Canada Day was significant.

"We can say, "Oh it's not as bad as the U.S., but that allows us to hide all the bad stuff that's happened here. There needs to be more accountability from our country, I believe," said Gabriela Toharia, a CEGEP student.

The march ended peacefully around 3 p.m.

With files from Verity Stevenson

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