Peaceful protesters have taken over a section of College Street downtown and painted the words: “Defund the police” in bold pink lettering outside Toronto police headquarters.
On Twitter, Toronto police confirmed they are aware of the protest and said College Street will be closed from Yonge Street to Bay Street for most of the day. “Everyone has the lawful right to peacefully protest,” police said.
Calls to defund police forces across North America have grown louder since the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Floyd’s killing set off weeks of protests across the world against police brutality and anti-Black racism.
In Toronto, demonstrators have called for reform and increased transparency after the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who fell from her High Park apartment after police were called to her home in May.
The police board has recognized that tension, but has delayed a vote one some early potential changes so it can consult more with the community.Friday’s protest is being organized by the group Not Another Black Life. There are at least two other anti-racism protests scheduled to take place in the city today.
The events coincide with Juneteenth, the U.S. holiday that marks the end of slavery. You can read more about the importance of the day, here.