Algonquin and Black activists held space in solidarity together Thursday afternoon in one of the cities busiest intersections in the downtown core, Nicholas St. and Laurier Ave.
The day began with a peaceful gathering at Ottawa City Hall with a land acknowledgment and opening prayer followed by a crowd of approximately 70 people marching together towards the intersection. As caution tape was put up in the surrounding area, the nearby traffic sounded their horns and some drivers quickly became agitated and aggressive.
One caucasian woman in a grey Hyundai vehicle began to purposely drive into activists and reports say she was later stopped by police. A truck driver operating a Construction Fre-Ro vehicle continued to sound his horn while uttering words from his vehicle. Multiple vehicle operators drove over medians to get away from the intersection and some drivers became confrontational with activists as the afternoon progressed.
Members from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Ottawa Black Diaspora shared that they have had enough of the violence towards Black and Indigenous people in Canada which had brought them out to the demonstration in efforts to amplify their voices. As they held space together, the crowd chanted, “No justice, no peace! No racist police!” numerous times. Activists also called for justice in the deaths of Abdirahman Abdi, Anthony Aust and Greg Ritchie.
They included the following demands:
1. Freeze the Ottawa Police Budget
2. No police in contested Indigenous territories
3. End dynamic entry, mental health checks and sexual assault by police
4. End discrimination against Indigenous & Black students in schools
5. End School Resource Officer Program
6. No racial slurs in classrooms
7. More funding for Indigenous & Black students
8. Funds to fight the public health crisis of systemic racism
9. End racism in healthcare systems and public services
10. No more evictions. Affording Housing now!
Click here to see coverage from APTN National News.
Video credit: Cody Coyote