Shouts of “I can’t breathe,” “Black lives matters” and “Hands up, don’t shoot” echoed through downtown Calgary yesterday as people rallied to protest racism and police brutality following the recent killing of yet another black American, George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. last month.

Floyd was killed on May 25th, according to the video taken by a civilian, he was being choked to death after being kneeled directly on his throat by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin. For approximately eight minutes straight.

Following this event, a huge number of people in the state of Minneapolis gathered around to protest their anger and frustrations, on the ongoing inequality that has taken the lives of several black male and female Americans. Many of those protests have become violent, with people burning down police stations, breaking windows and many protestors being arrested and taken away by the police. Yet other states, such as Atlanta and New Jersey, joined this “fight” in a peaceful protest. 

The video surfaced on all media platforms and triggered a mass protest all around the world.

A large crowd walking from the East Village to City Hall. Photo: Emmanuella Kondo

In Calgary, more than 1300 people gathered at Riverwalk plaza in the East Village. The protests lasted for approximately four hours, where the crowd marched all the way to City Hall, in a peaceful and respected manner.

Many came to show support and also their frustration.

“As a black male, I’m annoyed and angry when I see one of my own going through something like this. It’s sad and this has been going on for way too long,” said one of the protesters. (Who did not want to give his name)

Protesters “take a knee” in solidarity against police brutality.  Photo: Emmanuella Kondo 

Although this event was targeted to the black community, highlighting the #BlackLivesMatter movement, many different ethnicities such as Arabic, Caucasian and the Indigenous communities, came in harmony to honor the cause.

“We watched that guy get murdered on film. The cop didn’t care. He didn’t care, because he’s gotten away with it so many times. Those aren’t the protectors then. “said a female protester.

Calgarians marched peacefully back to East Village after, taking a moment of silence at City hall, listening to speakers in a respectful and sympathetic way.

As the week goes forth, other protests will take place in our city (the YYC Justice for All Victims of Police Brutality on Tuesday, June 3 and the Black Lives Matter Vigil on Saturday, June 6). These protests will be taking place all around Calgary downtown at different locations, all hoping to send a message to the world.

Protester expresses himself directly in front of a parked police vehicle.  Photo: Emmanuella Kondo