TORONTO, March 31, 2016 /CNW/ - This evening, Black Lives Matter - Toronto protesters hosted a vigil to remember Andrew Loku outside of Kathleen Wynne's home. They left a wreath and photos in his honour and a tent to symbolize the 11th day of #BLMTOtentcity. Earlier this week, the movement vowed to bring their anti-police brutality protest directly to politicians. Despite a week of sustained protest and wide public support both locally and internationally, protesters have been met with silence from Premier Kathleen Wynne.
"The decision makers to whom we have submitted our demands to, including Kathleen Wynne, continue to ignore the Black community and thousands of people who support us," said Sandy Hudson, co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Toronto. "So we have no choice but to bring our actions to them. Eleven straight days of protest and our Premier has said nothing. That is a shame."
Black Torontonians and their allies have been outside of Toronto Police Service's Headquarters for over 280 hours, in response to anti-Black policies of the City and Province. Their demands to Kathleen Wynne includes:
- The immediate release of the name(s) of the officer(s) who killed Andrew Loku and charges to be laid accordingly.
- The immediate and public release of any video footage from the apartment complex where Andrew Loku was murdered.
- The adoption of the African Canadian Legal Clinic's demand for a coroner's inquest into the death of Andrew Loku.
- A condemnation of Toronto Police's excessive use of force and and ongoing intimidation and harassment tactics against Black Lives Matter Toronto protesters.
- An overhaul of the province's Special Investigations Unit, in consultation with families of victims of Police violence, the Black community, and the community at large.
- A commitment to the full elimination of carding, including: the deletion of all previously recorded data, reframing of regulations to prohibitions, consistent implementation policy amongst different police boards, and concrete disciplinary measures for officers who continue to card.
In addition to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Mayor Tory, Police Chief Saunders have yet to publicly respond, or comment on the protesters demands and their issue brought forward.
"Both the SIU and the Toronto Police Services work under provincial jurisdiction," said Yusra Khogali, co-founder of Black Lives Matter - Toronto. "Sooner or later, Wynne will have to answer to her constituents. In light of her silence, we decided to come to her and remind her of the faces of those victimized by institutions under her watch. Their blood is on her hands."
Three toronto city councillors, Mike Layton, Kristyn Wong-Tam, and Gord Perks have drafted a motion, which will be submitted to city council on April 1. Additionally, a petition in support of the motion by Councillor Michael Layton garnered over 2,000 signatures in 36 hours. This motion includes asking city council to put pressure on the province for reforms to the Special Investigations Unit, in consultation with the affected communities.
Black Lives Matter-Toronto is the Toronto chapter of the #BlackLivesMatter network, an international organization and movement fighting anti-Black racism and state-sanctioned violence.
SOURCE Black Lives Matter - Toronto
For further information: For inquiries, contact: Rodney Diverlus at info@blacklivesmatterTO.ca or 647-456-8476; Sandy Hudson at info@blacklivesmatterTO.ca or 416-722-8842