Hundreds gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery Sunday afternoon for a protest demanding justice following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police this week.
Protesters wore masks to prevent coronavirus spread and brought signs bearing messages such as “Black lives matter,” “silence=compliance,” and “I can’t breathe,” the latter referencing Floyd’s last words as a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes before he died.
“It’s time to address racism… and stop living in the belief that it doesn’t exist,” organizer Jacob Callender-Prasad told Daily Hive in a phone interview before the protest.
Helicopters could be heard overhead at the time, which were probably keeping an eye on the demonstrators from the sky.
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There was a moment of silence held at the demonstration to honour Floyd and other victims of police brutality before speeches and calls to action. Organizers plan to have the rally stay in Robson Square and not go on a march downtown, partly to avoid coronavirus spread and partly to avoid conflict with commuters and potential anti-protesters, Callender-Prasad said.
The officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck has now been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter. But Callender-Prasad and other demonstrators want the other officers present at the time to be charged as well.
“This is the time to fight. This is the time to unite. No matter your skin colour, your pigment, where you’re from, this is something you should care about,” he said in an Instagram video preparing for the demonstration.