Downtown Guelph’s streets were met on Saturday with thousands of people calling for justice for Black lives in Guelph’s biggest protest in recent memory.
The crowd chanted ‘I can’t breathe’ in reference to George Floyd’s last words, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘No Justice, No Peace’ as they strolled down the streets of Guelph. Around 5000 people of all walks of life marched at the Guelph Solidarity Protest to Support Black Lives Matter on Saturday afternoon.
The protest was held by the Guelph Black Heritage Society in solidarity with protests happening in the United States and around the world, making a public stand against police brutality and institutionalized racism.
The march filled Carden Street from Wyndham to Wilson. Several people were onsite, handing out free water, face masks and hand sanitizer to protesters. Passing by cars honked in solidarity, and people in nearby buildings hung out of windows, some stood on overpasses and businesses emptied to support or watch the event.
Many protesters expressed a desire to physically distance themselves over safety concerns, and took to standing in the sidelines while maintaining support. Guelph Police services officers did not participate in the march, but managed traffic from the sidelines. Organizers, Police and protesters alike encouraged constant safety as the event wore on, but as the crowd swelled, social distancing became difficult, even on a public street.
The crowd was estimated to be roughly 5000-people large, and could be the largest protest in Guelph’s history.