OTTAWA – Black Lives Matter, now well known for its disruptive tactics, was at it again – this time here in the nation’s capital.
On Sunday protesters with the activist group temporarily halted the Pride parade, described as the biggest in the Ottawa’s history, at which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marched with two of his children.
The Black activists here, like members of Black Lives Matter at the 2016 Pride parade in Toronto, had walked with their list of demands.
And again, like the Toronto activists, one of the demands of the Ottawa protesters was that police be not allowed to march in uniform or have weapons or Pride-themed vehicles in the parade.
They were also calling for the Ottawa police to incorporate LGBT members in police governing bodies.
Speaking in French, activist Leila Moumouni-Tchouassi told Radio Canada that she was participating in the protest to remind people that black transgender women have been increasingly erased from Pride-related conversations and events.
“Our voices and our lives have no weight here,” she said.
Black Lives Matter activists had met with Pride executive in Ottawa earlier in the summer but Moumouni-Tchouassi said not much transpired from the meetings.
Pride’s executive had asked civilian police officers not to wear their uniforms, but that didn’t go far enough for her.
She added that while she didn’t see civilian police marching in the parade, having police provide security is still a problem.
“Sadly, Ottawa remains a violent city for people of colour and activists,” she said.
A group of activists plan to meet with Pride’s executive shortly to discuss their latest demands.
Among the thousands in the parade was General Jonathan Vance, Chief of Defence staff of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Vance said he wanted to show members of the LGBT community already serving in the uniform that he and the rest of the top brass support them — and also spur those community members to think about a career in the armed forces.