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Thousands march through Calgary streets in anti-police violence, anti-racism rally

Thousands march in downtown Calgary as part of Black Lives Matter protest
Thousands of people marched in downtown Calgary on Wednesday protesting the death of George Floyd while in police custody. Christa Dao reports.

Thousands lined Calgary’s streets on Wednesday afternoon as part the city’s third anti-police violence demonstration, prompted by the death of George Floyd in the U.S.

Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died in police custody after a violent arrest on May 25 that saw the arresting officer kneel on his neck for several minutes as he pleaded for help.

Large Black Lives Matter protests in Calgary
Large Black Lives Matter protests in Calgary

That officer, as well as three others involved in the arrest, have since been fired and all four are facing charges in relation to Floyd’s death.

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READ MORE: George Floyd death: Derek Chauvin charges upped, all 4 officers now facing charges

Wednesday’s rally started in the Kensington neighbourhood at 2 p.m. and saw thousands of protesters gather at Poppy Plaza before a planned march through downtown set to get underway at 4 p.m.

The “peaceful march of solidarity for victims of police brutality” is expected to conclude with a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. at city hall.

Black Lives Matter vigil held in Calgary
Black Lives Matter vigil held in Calgary
Man in custody following tense moments during Calgary protest
Man in custody following tense moments during Calgary protest

One person was taken into custody during Wednesday’s rally from Olympic Plaza, where a group of demonstrators were gathered waiting to join those marching through the city.

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The man arrived just before 6 p.m. and was causing a disturbance, prompting the officers on scene to intervene.

Police have yet to determine whether charges will be laid.

Protesters gather in Calgary to rally against police violence and racism on Wednesday, June 3.
Protesters gather in Calgary to rally against police violence and racism on Wednesday, June 3. Jerry Favero/Global News

The crowd, many of them carrying signs and wearing black, could be heard yelling “Black lives matter.”

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The Calgary Police Service said officers would be on hand to keep an eye on the situation and as a show of support.

On Wednesday evening, police tweeted that officers were helping paramedics with a “medical event” at Olympic Plaza.

“An attendee of the planned candlelight vigil fell from a structure and sustained a head injury due to her fall,” police tweeted. “The female has been transported to hospital.”

The 10 Street bridge was closed to traffic as of 3 p.m. and officers were enforcing rolling roadway shutdowns throughout the downtown core during rush hour as the demonstration moved through the city.

‘You have to listen’: Former Calgary Stampeder Jon Cornish’s advice for being an ally against racism
‘You have to listen’: Former Calgary Stampeder Jon Cornish’s advice for being an ally against racism

READ MORE: Calgary’s police chief, union call killing of George Floyd ‘gut-wrenching’ and ‘heartbreaking’

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As of 3:15 p.m., Calgary police said there were 1,500-2,000 people participating in the demonstration.

Protesters march through Calgary in an anti-police violence and anti-racism protest on Wednesday, June 3.
Protesters march through Calgary in an anti-police violence and anti-racism protest on Wednesday, June 3. Global News
Protesters march through Calgary in an anti-police violence and anti-racism protest on Wednesday, June 3.
Protesters march through Calgary in an anti-police violence and anti-racism protest on Wednesday, June 3. Global News
Protesters march through Calgary in an anti-police violence and anti-racism protest on Wednesday, June 3.
Protesters march through Calgary in an anti-police violence and anti-racism protest on Wednesday, June 3. Bruce Aalhus/Global News
Protesters march through Calgary in an anti-police violence and anti-racism protest on Wednesday, June 3.
Protesters march through Calgary in an anti-police violence and anti-racism protest on Wednesday, June 3. Bruce Aalhus/Global News

Late Wednesday night, the Calgary Police Service tweeted that it is “proud of our city’s ability to come together, be heard and support one another.”

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“There is much work to be done and we are committed to serving you,” the tweet said.

On Monday, more than 1,500 people marched through the city in a stand against police brutality and racism.

— With files from Global News’ Christa Dao