Demonstrators converged on Niagara Falls this afternoon to protest racism towards Blacks as well as injustices suffered in the hands of the police.
The event was part of the reaction to the death of George Floyd, Black American, who died in custody of the police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
George Floyd died after ex-police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while he pleaded for his life in a video widely circulated about the incident. Derek Chauvin and three other colleagues have been charged for Floyd’s death.
The protest started with a march from Highway 420 and Victoria Ave. It proceeded to the Whirlpool Bridge to USA where the demonstrators honored the memory of George Floyd by bending their knees symbolically for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
The Whirlpool Bridge was closed during the demonstration.
Sherri Darlene, organizer of the protest, thanked the police for their cooperation. Darlene also expressed her gratitude to the demonstrators, who came from all backgrounds for their support in making the protest free of social unrest as witnessed in some other cities. Some relatives of the demonstrators in the US were seen waving to the protesters in Canada. Among the families on the American side of the border was the mother of Sherri Darlene.
Despite the emergency declaration restricting mass gathering due to COVID-19 pandemic, participants at the event came out in large numbers to show their solidarity for Black lives. They carried placards with various messages including: Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Peoples for Black Lives, Dismantle White Supremacy and Dark Skin Is Not A Crime.
Niagara Region Public Health says it strongly supports bringing attention towards, and ameliorating structural racism.
It however advised anyone joining the demonstration to keep 2 metres apart, wear a face covering at all times, bring hand sanitizers, and wash hands on returning home.
Participants were advised to monitor themselves for symptoms, and if any symptoms develop, to get tested.