OTTAWA -- Chants of “Black Lives Matter”, “Enough is Enough”, "I can't breathe" and “No Justice, No Peace” filled downtown Ottawa during a day of demonstration against racism and police brutality.

Thousands of people converged on Parliament Hill and nearby streets for the “No Peace Until Justice” march.

On Parliament Hill, thousands of people listened to speeches and held eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence. The eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence represents the amount of time a former Minneapolis police officer had his knee on George Floyd’s neck. Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis.

During the speeches on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knelt to the ground in solidarity with anti-racism demonstrators protesting police killings of Black people.

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Families, Children and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen joined Trudeau at the rally.

On the streets of Ottawa, people marched from Parliament Hill to the Senate of Canada Building, and then down Sussex Drive towards the U.S. Embassy.

CTV News Ottawa’s Katie Griffin reports some people took a knee on Sussex Drive

CTV News Ottawa’s Saron Fanel spoke with one man outside the U.S. Embassy on Sussex Drive about the “No Peace Until Justice” march.

“The reason why we’re here is to stand in solidary. These issues that's happening in the U.S., it’s not just a U.S. problem, it’s a global problem,” he said.

“Racism is embedded almost into every institution that there is, especially our justice system.”

Another man told CTV News Ottawa “the system is promoting racism.”

“We just want to be free. We don’t make trouble. We want to be part of the community, we want everybody to be part of the community.”

The two men then chanted “Black Lives Matter” with the crowd in front of the U.S. Embassy.

Ottawa Police told CTV News Ottawa at 5 p.m. that no problems have been reported during the march. 

The Ottawa Police Service issued a statement on Thursday saying, “We respect the rights of our residents and community members to speak out when they see injustices and we understand the community’s deep pain and frustration. Our role is to provide a safe space for people to grieve and be heard.”

Businesses prepare for the march 

In downtown Ottawa, several businesses boarded up windows ahead of the rally.

Crews placed plywood over the windows at the CIBC on Rideau Street Thursday night.

Businesses in Ottawa


With files from The Canadian Press.