Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Black Lives Matter demonstrates at Toronto Police headquarters

The Black Lives Matter demonstration traveled to Ontario's Parliament building from Toronto Police Headquarters Monday afternoon, shutting down traffic on University and College streets.  LUCAS OLENIUK
Just after the persistent two weeks camped outside in frigid weather conditions, Black Lives Matter demonstrators have decided to pack up #BLMTOtentcity, and vacate Toronto police HQ following a brief discussion with Premier Kathleen Wynne.


Saying she had heard their anger about the police treatment of minorities, Wynne met with more than 100 Black Lives Matter protesters rallying at Queen’s Park on Monday.

During the exchange, Wynne told the protestors that she would not be addressing the issue at that moment, but would be setting up a meeting “ASAP” with the organizers.

In an unusual move, the premier – flanked by her security detail and three cabinet ministers – emerged from the front door of the legislature to address the chanting demonstrators.

Premier Kathleen Wynne went out the front steps of the legislature Monday to address protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement.  TORONTO STAR / ROB FERGUSON
“I am here because I think this is such an important issue,” Wynne told the crowd gathered in the snow.

“In my heart I believe that we all need to work together to make sure we get this right. The reason I’m out here is I want you to understand that,” she said.

Black Lives Matter activists – who have been staging a sit-in protest at Toronto police headquarters since March 20 after the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) decided not to charge the unnamed officer who shot and killed 45-year-old Andrew Loku last year – demonstrated at Wynne’s North Toronto home last week.

As the protesters chanted “give us the name, give us the name” of the officer in the Loku slaying, Wynne stressed she could not discuss specific cases.

“We are undertaking a review of the SIU. We are reviewing all the police oversight bodies. We need your help in doing that,” the premier said.

Wynne noted she recently launched Ontario’s anti-racism directorate and takes concerns about discrimination seriously.

The tense session near police barricades outside the Legislative Assembly lasted about seven minutes.
It’s the first time in many years that an Ontario premier has held an impromptu face-to-face meeting with protesters.

She was accompanied by Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur, Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi, and Culture Minister Michael Coteau, who is overseeing the new anti-racism directorate.

Black Lives Matter organizer Janaya Khan said “it’s an important step” to speak with Wynne.

“But I think thus far we’ve seen failures and broken promises and a lack of transparency so we’re going to be there and we’re going to show and hope that our demands are met,” said Khan.

The Black Lives Matter organizers say that they’ll give the city 300 hours for demands to be met – if not, they’ll return.
Black Lives Matter signage in front of Toronto Police Headquarters, left by protesters.  VINCE TALOTTA
Before leaving the scene, the demonstrator’s unfurled two signs displayed on the columns at the police headquarters reading: "You are on notice. Your anti blackness has been exposed. We are not finished.”

Source- The Star

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