London, Ont. mayor supports, but won't attend Black Lives Matter rally
LONDON, ONT. -- Victoria Park will be the sight of the Black Lives Matter rally Saturday afternoon, and on Friday London police Chief Steve Williams released a statement supporting the demonstration.
“I want to reassure the community in the strongest possible terms, that I do not condone the behaviour we saw in the U.S. That is not reflective of our values.”
He spoke of the commitment the London Police Service has to bias-free policing and treating every person with respect.
It’s a sentiment that was echoed by London Police Services Board Chair Dr. Javeed Sukhera.
“We also support the right of the Black community and allies to protest, and have their voices heard in Canada and around the world. Without being subject to unjustifiable state violence.”
There will be members of the police service taking part in the protest, as well as members of city council.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie has said he will attend, but will remain in his vehicle.
However, London’s mayor announced Friday he would not be taking part.
In a statement Mayor Ed Holder said, “I will not be attending Saturday’s event in person, I do however plan to watch and listen intently, online.”
Speaking with CTV News he added, “Londoners want to support the intention behind this, and turn that intention into action in a positive progressive way for our city.”
Holder also praised the organizers’ efforts to stress physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
One of the businesses on the planned route of a march that is part of the rally, Burrito Boyz has put up signs of support and will be taking part in the rally.
Co-Owner Dave Strano saying he will be there with his two sons, “I think people of London will be great, and I think it’ll be a great showcase for Ontario, Canada, the world on how we are going to support to make change.”
The rally is scheduled to begin at three o’clock in the afternoon, with the march around Victoria Park to follow.
Organizers of the Black Lives Matter rally in London have also emphasized the need for COVID-19 safety at the event.
And a separate event in support of the Victoria Park rally is encouraging people across the city to hold ‘mini protests’ by holding up signs at city intersections.