Black Lives Matter protesters shut down section of Allen Expressway

WATCH ABOVE: Black Lives Matter-Toronto holds a protest calling for justice in deaths of Jermaine Carby and Andrew Loku. Mark Carcasole reports.

TORONTO – Protesters shut down the southbound Allen Expressway on Monday to voice their outrage at the recent shooting deaths of two black men, Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby, at the hands of police.

Among other things, they demanded police criminally charge and identify the officers behind the two deaths.

The demonstrators linked their arms together to block the off-ramp from Allen Rd. and Eglinton Ave, blocking dozens of cars around 8 p.m.

Earlier in the evening, hundreds gathered at Eglinton Gilbert Parkette for a “Day of Action” rally, demanding justice for black community members they say have been victims of police brutality.

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The rally was organized by Black Lives Matter-Toronto, which is calling for justice in the deaths of Loku and Carby, shot to death by police in separate incidents in the GTA in the past year.

Loku, 45, was shot to death earlier this month in the building where he lived, just a few paces from the parkette where the protest began Monday. He was holding a hammer. Witnesses have said he was shot seconds after police approached him

WATCH: “Black lives matter” – it’s a chant that’s been heard across the U.S. recently in the wake of the deaths of several black men at the hands of white police officers. But it’s not just an issue South of the border. The movement is gaining ground in Canada as well, after two similar deaths in Toronto. Mike Drolet reports

Carby, 33, was shot in the chest, forearm and back after a traffic stop in Brampton last September. He was carrying a knife.

The Special Investigations Unit said last week it will not charge the Peel Regional Police officer who killed Carby.

SIU Director Tony Loparco said in a statement that three Peel officers feared for their lives.

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A spokesman said Peel Regional Police “agree with the conclusion the officers were justified and lawful in their actions.”

READ MORE: Man reportedly armed with hammer shot dead by Toronto police, SIU investigating

The group organizing the protest is the local chapter of #BlackLivesMatter, an international movement fighting violence against black and brown people.

WATCH: After a young black teen was shot to death by police earlier this month, protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement gathered at the location of the shooting to advocate for better police relations with the black community. Desmond Cole joins Alan Carter to discuss.

The chant and hashtag have become a rallying cry for protests against police brutality in Ferguson, Baltimore and New York City.

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Desmond Cole, an activist and writer, told Global News the number one issue among protesters was “accountability.”

“I think the number one thing people are asking for is accountability,” said Cole. “And accountability doesn’t just mean bringing the police to account when someone loses their life at the hands of police. It means asking the police to make sure that this never happens again.”

“This has been happening so frequently to black people in this city even though we are small percentage of the population.”

Cole was invited to speak at the protest before the blockade.

The group made the following demands from Toronto Mayor John Tory and Police Chief Police Mark Saunders:

  • The immediate release of the name(s) of the officers that killed Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby.
  • Charges to be laid against the officers who killed Mr. Loku and Mr. Carby.
  • Confirmation that the police officers who killed Mr. Loku and Mr. Carby are off duty.
  • The release of any video footage from the apartment complex where Andrew Loku was murdered.
  • A timeframe for the SIU’s investigation.
  • Monetary compensation for the families of Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby.

Black Lives Matter also recently staged a demonstration about Loku’s death at a Toronto Police Services Board meeting after the police refused to meet several of its demands folowing the shooting.

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The African Canadian Legal Clinic, Across Boundaries, Canadian Mental Health Association, Urban Alliance on Race Relations and Black Lives Matter hosted a press conference on July 9 to address what they say is “the dramatic over-representation of African Canadians with mental health issues killed by Toronto police.”

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