Thousands of Ottawa residents are expected to march in front of Parliament Hill on Friday in a show of solidarity against anti-Black racism and police brutality.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who declined to say Friday morning whether he would attend, arrived on Parliament Hill in mid-afternoon with security guards, wearing a black cloth mask.
It’s one of multiple events in Canada today, following days of demonstrations against racism and police brutality in numerous American cities.
The No Peace Until Justice Coalition (NPJC), which organized the march, describes the demonstration in Instagram posts as a peaceful event meant to show solidarity with Black Canadians and “countless other Black individuals killed by police brutality.”
Ottawa’s march comes amid protests across the United States, where anger has erupted over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes.
The local demonstration, originally planned to start at the U.S. Embassy, has been changed to begin at 3 p.m. in front of Parliament Hill, with the march now progressing east down Wellington Street to the temporary home of the Senate of Canada at Colonel By Drive before turning back down Elgin Street and ending at Ottawa’s human rights monument.
The event has been criticized by other Black community leaders for a lack of organization, giving rise to fears of safety for participants amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and an expected police presence.
Mayor Jim Watson was also criticized by Black activists for announcing his intention to participate.
Despite statements from the mayor, Ottawa police and organizers expecting a peaceful event, some businesses in the nearby ByWard Market added boarding to the front of their buildings ahead of Friday’s march.
Global News will be on-scene Friday and will be providing updates on the march here.
With files from Canadian Press.
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