Rachael D’Amore, CTV Toronto
Published Monday, August 15, 2016 9:37AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 15, 2016 1:31PM EDT
Members of Black Lives Matter- Toronto blocked off the intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets this morning to protest the death of a Somali-Canadian man killed in Ottawa last month after an incident with police.
A video posted on Twitter from the demonstration showed protesters holding signs and banners calling for justice for 37-year-old Abdirahman Abdi.
Hashim Yussuf, one of the organizers of the protest, told CP24 that the group is demanding that the officers involved in Abdi’s death be charged.
Abdi died after what witnesses described as a violent arrest outside his apartment building in Ottawa in July. The SIU has been called in to investigate the case.
“The demands from Black Lives Matter and the larger black community in general are basically to hold accountability for the death of Abdirahman Abdi and for the murder and how the Ottawa police, the Ottawa hospitals and the paramedics all corroborated with the Special Investigations Unit,” Yussuf told CP24.
“We’re calling for immediate charges on the Ottawa police officers who killed Abdirahman Abdi. We’re calling fot the Special Investigations Unit to start collecting and releasing race-based data across the province. We’re calling for the Minister of Health, Eric Hoskins, to start an investigation into how the Ottawa hospital and Ottawa paramedics collaborated with the Special Investigations Unit and with the Ottawa police to withhold information about Abdirahman Abdi’s time of death.”
The group made a number of demands at the demonstration, including a call for a overhaul of the SIU.
“We don’t plan to stop at all. We’ve been mobilizing and agitating our community for almost two years now. We’ve seen so many people die at the guns of police. These are people that are dying and there’s no accountability when it comes to their death,” Black Lives Matter- Toronto co-founder Yusra Khogali told CP24.
“So we’re going to continue interrupting space until we see action being taken. We’re not going to stop until we see an overhaul of the SIU. The Special Investigations Unit is supposed to be an impartial civilian board that is supposed to work to investigate police interactions with the public but what it actually does is protect police officers.”
Though the incident happened in Ottawa, members of Black Lives Matter- Toronto said that it is not just an Ottawa issue.
“This case actually breaks our heart. We’re reaching out in solidarity with folks in Ottawa. We want to take action here because we know that these things happen throughout the province,” co-founder of Black Lives Matter- Toronto Rodney Diverlus told CTV Toronto.
The intersection was closed for about an hour but has since reopened.
– With files from The Canadian Press