Hundreds descend on downtown Ottawa in support of Justice for Abdirahman march
Hundreds descended on the streets of downtown Ottawa Saturday in the second anti-racism rally in as many weeks.
The protest was organized by the group Justice for Abdirahman coalition. Abdirahman Abdi was 37-years-old when hed died following a violent altercation with Ottawa police on July 24, 2016. The group has been protesting his death ever since.
Const. Daniel Montsion has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon. The case has been before the courts since 2019.
“I think that this is the kind of sustained interest and support that we need to see. We need to understand that it’s four years since the death of Abdirahman,” said Farhia Ahmed, a member of the coalition.
“To see that this many people still care in our city is incredibly touching.”
Farhia said the group will continue to take action until a verdict is reached in the case and there is an end to systemic racism in Canadian institutions.
Solidarity with other marches
The march was also held in solidarity with other groups which have been calling for an end to systemic racism world-wide, and drawing special attention to that problem in Canada.
“I think a lot of people really see themselves in George Floyd, see themselves in Abdi. It’s something which is still weighing on the minds and hearts of a lot of African-Canadians,” said Junior Baino who took part in the march.
“I think that people out in the streets are letting regular Canadians know that ‘hey you know this is an issue here in Canada and needs to be addressed’.”
There were also renewed calls for the resignation of Matt Skof, president of the Ottawa Police Association, including from Ottawa-Centre MPP Joel Harden.
An audio recording of Skof using a sexist slur to describe a member of the city’s Black community recently surfaced on social media. Investigators with the Ontario Provincial Police have been notified about the video and Ottawa police said its Professional Standards Section will also be addressing the matter.