Riverside South residents to walk in solidarity with downtown anti-racism march

People hold up signs during a demonstration where they called for justice for George Floyd and all victims of police brutality in Montreal, Sunday, May 31, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

A march is planned for Friday in Riverside South to be held in solidarity with those marching in downtown Ottawa to denounce racism and police brutality.

Courtney Arsenaultorum posted the plan to the Riverside South Community Association Facebook page on Tuesday. She said she wanted to teach her three children "how to fight for what's right."

The march plans to leave the Riverview Park-and-Ride at 3 p.m. Friday, and move toward the intersection of Limebank and Earl Armstrong roads before returning to the park-and-ride.

"I am choosing this opportunity to teach my children how to fight for what’s right, how to raise up those around us and to give a voice to those whose voices have been silenced for far too long. I think it’s important to show our kids that in times of need sitting idle is not an option," Arsenaultorum said in her post.

In an update Wednesday evening, Arsenaultorum said she had been in contact with Ottawa police, and said there would be a police presence at the march to ensure things stay peaceful. She said she had yet to hear back from the City regarding a protest permit, but would pursue the matter.

In a media call Wednesday, community and protective services general manager Anthony di Monte told reporters the City was not sanctioning or permitting the downtown march from the U.S. embassy to Parliament Hill, but they would also not be issuing tickets for breaking the provincial rule prohibiting gatherings of more than five people from different households.

Arsenaultorum said she is hopeful attendees will keep the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

"If you are planning to attend we ask that you maintain social distancing at all times. If you have a mask available to you please consider wearing it," she said.

Arsenaultorum also said a large quantity of hand sanitizer had been secured for the event.

"Signs of support are highly recommended. We are expecting a large number of children and youth, please be mindful of this when preparing signage (ie. no profanity and/or promotion of violence)."

The march comes amid growing, often violent, protests in the United States following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The four officers who were present for Floyd's arrest and death have now all been arrested and charged. The third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has also been upgraded to second-degree murder.