MONTREAL (CityNews) – A photographer in Montreal captured a world full of emotions during the city’s Black Lives Matter protest over the weekend.
Sunday’s rally marked the second weekend of protests done by the city, as most of the world joins the fight to end racism.
Photographer Dave Gogan, who attended the protests took to Facebook to share some of what he was able to witness and capture.
“So the first protest of the day went off incredibly smooth and well. Overall it was peaceful and a message of peace and unity and overcoming what’s happening in the community were shared. It was an incredibly powerful moment one that saw many races and cultures come together to support one that needed the most at this moment. The protest was so well received that they didn’t even have riot police in full gear during the protest. The cops generally gave the crowd all the room they needed and respected them.”
Earlier in the week, Montreal Police Chief Sylvain Caron told organizers that the Montreal Police would participate in the protest if they were invited.
That invite was retracted on Saturday after the black community groups expressed their discomfort with Caron being there.
“However, there was a second protest. This one was not as friendly. At this one the protesters were standing off with the police, who were holding formation in full riot gear with legions of cops,” said Gogan in his Facebook post.
“This protest was beginning to escalate as the crowd was growing more frustrated standing around with the police in their face. Insults were being thrown towards the cops and it was not a peaceful atmosphere.”
“I was standing on a garbage can taking the panoramic image you see in my set of photos here (above), when I noticed the main speaker from the first protest come running in. It was this older lady that you see in the photos here (below). She came running through the crowd with the sole purpose of not letting this day be ruined by violence.”
“She fully succeeded. She put herself in the middle of the crowd and she began telling everyone that they need to not let this day go to waste. It has been a great success up until this moment. But she was not met with open arms as you would think. Protesters began to yell at her, and she stood there facing them all. Telling them that this is not the way to go. To just go home and appreciate the victory that today was.”
“She had this one girl start yelling at her in her face. As this girl was just yelling at the cops moments before she arrived. This woman stood tall and met the girl with open arms and brought her in and embraced her lovingly. Giving her nothing but kindness. In this moment, the police could see that she had the situation under control and decided they could leave. All but a very small group of cops on bikes remained and lead the way for protesters to return to the park peaceful where the previous protest ended.”
“It was a very beautiful moment to witness and be able to capture. This one woman ended a protest ready to turn violent, pretty much on her own. Mind you she had two other members with her organization who were with her and doing their part as well. But this lady stood tall and showed the world that we do not need violence to make ourselves heard. All we need to do is to simply stand together, united.”
On Monday, Quebec Premier François Legault refused to budge from his position that systemic racism does not exist in his province.
Demonstrators in Montreal called out Legault for his refusal to acknowledge the problem.
Legault concedes racism does exist in Quebec and called for a quote – “quiet evolution” – to deal with it.
He says Quebec must continue to move towards equality as a society.
Earlier in the day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’ll propose equipping police with body-worn cameras to the country’s premiers this week, hoping for rapid movement.
With files from The Canadian Press