Black Lives Matter London pleased with Saturday's event but admit there's more to do
LONDON, ONT. -- Over 10,000 people marched the streets of London in solidarity with Black Lives Matter on Saturday.
Organizers and the spokesperson for the event called the anti-racism rally ‘phenomenal,’ and peaceful, but members also said that there is still more work to be done to change the narrative.
“Yesterday was phenomenal,” said Alexandra Kane, the spokesperson for Black Lives Matter. “Ten thousand-strong London, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
Kane said that she hopes the movement will spark some concrete changes.
“We need to de-fund the police and allocate those funds to education and social programs that will help build the Black community,” said Kane.
CTV News reached out to London police and are awaiting a response.
Just a couple of days before the protest date was set the medical officer of health for Middlesex-London Health Unit, Dr. Chris Mackie, offered this advice for protest-goers.
“Please make sure you monitor yourself closely for symptoms after attending. We also request people who have attended to take extra steps to try and avoid any unnecessary travel in the community afterwards.”
Mackie added that self-isolation at home for 14-days is not necessary.
Most people at the rally wore gloves and masks but the large gathering has garnered some criticism for being held during a pandemic.
Mayor Ed Holder did not attend the event in person but released this statement following the protest.
“The need for such a protest should be brutally and painfully obvious. I hope and pray questions regarding the ‘timing’ are ultimately proven irrelevant,” said Holder.
One of the organizers, Djemma Toku, said she was felt overwhelmed by all the love and the support from the community and offered a huge thank you to those who made speeches and to those who donated snacks, water, and personal protective gear.
Toku said the protest was mostly peaceful except for one moment when an unnamed man tried to disrupt it all.
“There just seemed to be someone with an alternate message,” says Toku. “It was very hard to see because it was very quickly shut down. Our group of volunteers we're very quick to escort him off the premises and it wasn’t heard again.”
The crowd responded to the disruption by chanting, “No violence, no retaliation.”
London police members were at the rally but mostly stuck to the sidelines as a precautionary measure, there have been no reported injuries from the protest.