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#Justice4BlackLives protest draw out hundreds in Niagara Falls

Massive crowd at peaceful protest against racism and police brutality

Hundreds of protesters took a knee for George Floyd and a stand against racism and injustice on Saturday in Niagara Falls.

After a two-hour manifestation along the main strip of Victoria Ave., a march made its way down to the sidewalk south of the Whirlpool bridge, where protesters on the U.S side could be seen signaling from across the water to the massive gathering.

The event heard loud calls for justice ring out from the crowds as organizer Sherri Darlene took to the microphone from a closed down bridge overlooking the gathering.

"This is day one on the job to combat racism," she said, recounting her own experience as a black woman in Canada.

"Some days it was really hard for me to get up and go to work. I just want to go to work, do my job and I want to go home, alive. Every morning I needed to say that because of the way I was treated," she continued.

"That is the system we are going to change."

While most protesters wore masks, the crowd that gathered appeared densely packed at times, keeping many families on a distance from the epicenter.

The peaceful protest saw a sparse police presence, mainly aiding in ensuring traffic was closed off, and at times officers could be seen dancing along to the boombox music blasting from speakers in the crowd.

Adriana Tawfig, one of the protesters in attendance said it was natural to take a stand after having been the subject of racism her whole life. 

"Racism absolutely exists in Canada, and it does make me angry but I am so happy to see people of all colors coming out today. It's 2020 and the world must realize that something is wrong."

Rihab Nori with family from St Catharines said the event brought some hope for change.

"It exists everywhere, in school, in the workplace. You just don't get some jobs based on your name" she said, adding she would like to see decreased funding for the police and more towards social services, as well as body cameras to be worn by every police officer.

Just after 3 p.m. protesters collectively took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, representing the time that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyds neck, ultimately ending in Floyds death.

As the raging waterfall from Niagara Falls could be heard in the background, the sounds of Keedon Bryant's original song 'I just want to live', detailing the struggles of a young black man, cut through the air and out over the sea of protesters.

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Ludvig Drevfjall

About the Author: Ludvig Drevfjall

Ludvig Drevfjall has been the editor of ThoroldToday since January 2020. He has worked as a journalist in Sweden, British Columbia and Ontario
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