A rally was held in Montreal today to denounce racial profiling and police discrimination while also recognizing the third anniversary of the death of George Floyd, an American man killed by police on May 25, 2020.
The rally was planned by several human rights organizations and called for the Quebec government to recognize systemic racism, which the province has steadfastly refused to do.
They also want the province to apply a Quebec Superior Court judgment in October 2022 that would have prohibited the random interception of vehicles by police without valid reason, while also invalidating the provincial Highway Safety Code provision that allows it.
The decision was appealed by the Quebec government and is currently before the Court of Appeal.
Organizers also called on François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec to change its tune on Bill 14 – a proposed law which aims to modernize different police practices and establish guidelines for police stops instead of banning them outright by prohibiting the practice based on discriminatory grounds.
About 100 people from Montreal and Quebec City took part in the demonstration.
Rosine Toguen, a member of one of the organizations fighting against racism, says that what happened to Floyd can still happen again if no actions are taken to prevent racial profiling in policing.
Toguen says the fight against racism concerns everyone, not just individuals from racialized and Indigenous communities.
“You don’t have to be Black, Arab, or (a member of) the First Nations to fight against racism. Racism should concern us all,” Toguen said.
For rally participant Mbaï-Hadji Mbaïrewaye, it was important to participate to call for changes on how police operate.
“The practice of police racial profiling undermines our humanity,” Mbaïrewaye said. “To the humanity of Black, racialized, Indigenous Peoples … it is important to march to reaffirm our dignity, our humanity.”