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Thousands Took To The Streets Of Montreal Saturday To Demand 'Justice For Joyce' (PHOTOS)

It was a rallying cry to end systemic racism against Indigenous women in Canada.
Associate Editor
Thousands Took To The Streets Of Montreal Saturday To Demand 'Justice For Joyce' (PHOTOS)

With files from Alanna Moore.

Montrealers took to the streets today to rally on behalf of Joyce Echaquan, an Indigenous woman — Atikamekw from Manawan — who exposed Quebec nurses' racial prejudice via Facebook live in the moments before her untimely death.

"We are gathering community members and allies to mourn, share and bring awareness for the mistreatment and systemic racism against an Attikamek woman," reads the Facebook event description.

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The demonstration began at Place Émilie-Gamelin at 1 p.m. on October 3.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

The crowd was a mix of activists, politicians — including Québec solidaire leader Manon Massé — and regular Montrealers who were up in arms over the mistreatment of Echaquan and other Indigenous peoples in Canada.

There appeared to be thousands of people marching to the sound of drums — most of whom wore mandatory masks, as encouraged by organizers.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

Organizers handed out masks to those who were without and speakers stressed social distancing.

Police were present, too.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

But the protest was a peaceful one.

Many participants held signs with messages. 

For example: "You have listened to a live murder. Your prejudices kill" and "Legault, come out of your bubble."

Someone postered a truck with a graphic of Echaquan's face.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

The words "Justice For Joyce" meet half a wreath of flowers to form a circle around Echaquan.

Alanna Moore | MTL Blog

Protesters also held up red dresses to commemorate missing and murdered Indigenous women.

In Canada, statistics show that Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing compared to other Canadian women.

The chief of Echaquan's community, Paul-Émile Ottawa, spoke about the need for a revolution. He said it was time to denounce systemic racism.

The event was hosted by Iskweu, Nakuset Sohkisiwin, and Janis Qavavauq-Bibeau. A separate group has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Echaquan's children.

Investigations are ongoing.

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