Dozens of activists with Black Live Matters Toronto blocked on Monday morning, August 15, 2016, the intersection of Yonge-Dundas in Toronto in protest of the “racist” approach of police towards the Black community and the “murder” of blacks by police.
The demonstrators repeatedly chanted “No justice, No peace, No racist police”, “Black Lives Matter here” and “Shut it down.”
Black Lives Mater Toronto has recently announced its intention to “fight back” againsy the death of the Canadian-Somali Abdirahman Abdi in Ottawa in last July.
Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has been examining the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a 37-year-old Abdirahman Abdi in Ottawa, which lead to his death.
According to an initial SIU press release, on morning July 24, 2016 Ottawa Police officers were called to the area of Wellington Street West and Fairmont Avenue for reports of “a man causing a disturbance.”
Officers responded and located a 37-year-old man. Shortly after, there was a confrontation outside 55 Hilda Street. At some point during the confrontation, the man suffered medical distress. He was transported in critical condition to Ottawa Civic Hospital and later died.
Raw videos documented the moments following Abdi’s arrest by Police. Abdi is seen lying on the ground bleeding, motionless and handcuffed. A Police officer was holding Abdi in way that kept him on his side and at a some point he cleaned Abdi’s nose and mouth with a disposable handkerchief. Later, paramedics and Police officers conducted an intensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Abdi before rushing him to hospital.
In a statement issued on August 2, 2016, BLM – TO accuses Ottawa Police officers, Dave Weir and Daniel Montison, of “lynching” Abdi “by their bare hands” and committing a “summary execution” in public.
During a press conference at Dunsas Square on August 15, 2016, a speaker on behalf of Black Lives Matterlisted the 5 demands to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and Minister of Anti-Racism, Michael Coteau:
- Reforming police
- Disbanding the SIU
- Releasing all SIU reports
- Naming police officers who committed “crimes”
- Turing policing missions to communities
Yusra Khogali, co-founder of BLM – TO and one of its prominent leaders, said during the press conference that the protests, including the disrupting of the public space, will continue until all demands are met, and first of the “shutting down” of the SIU.