Hundreds gather downtown in peaceful protest

Another rally planned for Saturday at noon at Mr. P.G. site

Hundreds of people rallied on the lawn of city hall on Friday afternoon to stand up against systemic racism, police brutality and show their solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The crowd chanted slogans, including "black lives matter," "No justice, no peace," and "I can't breath."

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"We've gathered here in solidarity with George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, and the I Can't Breath movement," B.C. Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee said. "We need a revolution."

Canada and the United States have long histories of racism against black and indigenous people, Teegee said – a theme picked up on by several other speakers at the rally.

Racism is pandemic in this country, he said, but "we have the cure among us, to stop racism."

Participants at the rally held a moment of silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was seen to kneel on Floyd's neck in a video showing his arrest and subsequent death in police custody on May 25.

Approximately half the people in attendance wore masks in recognition of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However the crowd exceeding the 50-person limit put in place by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and many people were closer than two metres apart.

Members of the Prince George RCMP closed a section of road to make room for people attending the rally, but otherwise kept their distance from the crowd. The crowd showed no signs of violence or hostility towards the officers present.

Another rallly is planned for noon Saturday at the Mr. PG site where Highway 16 meets Highway 97.

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