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Thousands participate in anti-racism rally in Halifax

Halifax activists respond to U.S. anti-racism protests
WATCH: Activists in Halifax say it’s important to focus their attention on protesting police-based violence and not the looting or fires. Jesse Thomas reports.

Thousands of people converged on downtown Halifax Monday evening to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and resistance to police brutality.

The demonstration was held in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis while pleading for air as a white police officer pressed his knee onto his neck.

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READ MORE: ‘Justice for Regis’: Hundreds turn out in Halifax for solidarity march against racism

At around 7:30 p.m., demonstrators took a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage could also be seen kneeling on Spring Garden Road.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage. Contributed: Ally Garber

The demonstration flooded Spring Garden Road, spreading down South Park and other side streets.

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A sign at a Black Lives Matter rally in Halifax on Monday, June 1, 2020.
A sign at a Black Lives Matter rally in Halifax on Monday, June 1, 2020. Alexander Quon/Global News
A man raises his fist at a Black Lives Matter rally on Spring Garden Road in Halifax on Monday, June 1, 2020.
A man raises his fist at a Black Lives Matter rally on Spring Garden Road in Halifax on Monday, June 1, 2020. Alexander Quon/Global News
Demonstrators gather at a Black Lives Matter rally in Halifax on Monday, June 1, 2020.
Demonstrators gather at a Black Lives Matter rally in Halifax on Monday, June 1, 2020. Alexander Quon/Global News
Demonstrators raise a sign at a Black Lives Matter rally in Halifax on Monday, June 1, 2020.
Demonstrators raise a sign at a Black Lives Matter rally in Halifax on Monday, June 1, 2020. Alexander Quon/Global News

Quentrel Provo, the founder and CEO of “Stop the Violence, Spread the Love,” said the demonstration is a way to bring people together and talk about how everyone can show support for the Black community.

“This is just a small way, but after everything is all done and died down, we’ve still got to do the work behind the scenes,” Provo said.

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“We can’t be silent anymore. People who have a voice of privilege need not to be silent.”

Demonstrations have been happening across North America in the days that followed Floyd’s death. A protest in Montreal Sunday night resulted in 11 people being arrested.

A similar rally was held in Halifax on Saturday in response to the death of 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet, as well as wider issues of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.

Thousands in Vancouver protest George Floyd death
Thousands in Vancouver protest George Floyd death

READ MORE: Thousands rally in Toronto after death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet

Const. John MacLeod, spokesperson for Halifax Regional Police, said officers would “monitor the situation to take appropriate action if necessary.”

“We are not proactively closing streets but we will have to see what is required at the time to ensure public safety,” MacLeod said in a statement to Global News Monday afternoon.

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