Businesses were boarded up in anticipation of Friday’s I Can’t Breathe Toronto March, which attracted thousands of demonstrators who peacefully marched through downtown.
Black Lives Matter and Not Another Black Life, which organized a May 30 demonstration in the wake of Regis Korchinski-Paquet’s death on May 27, were not involved, leading to confusion and speculation around who was organizing and the legitimacy of the march.
The marchers gathered at Bloor and Yonge and headed south to Dundas Square before heading across to Bay and back up to Bloor. Police chief Marc Saunders showed up at the beginning of the march and took a knee with protestors. Photos of the moment were quickly posted on social media.
Marches are happening across Canadian and American cities this weekend. At least two more marches are happening in Toronto on Saturday. There’s a walk from Nathan Phillips Square to Yonge Dundas Square starting at 1 pm and a march from Trinity Bellwoods Park to Queen’s Park starts at 2 pm.
The protest movement began after a video circulated showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of unarmed Black man George Floyd for more than eight minutes. Floyd uttered the words “I can’t breathe” before he died. Four police officers have since been charged in his death.
Check out photos from Friday’s demonstration below: