Justin Trudeau takes a knee alongside BLM protesters in Ottawa, Americans say US needs leaders like him

While many applauded the PM Justin Trudeau for kneeling with the protesters in a show of solidarity, others criticized him for the Blackface photos that surfaced in 2019


                            Justin Trudeau takes a knee alongside BLM protesters in Ottawa, Americans say US needs leaders like him
Justin Trudeau (Getty Images)

The protests that broke out after the death of George Floyd last week have not only seen the progressive winds of change spread across the country, but also internationally. Global protests saw various other nations join the Black Lives Matter movement and protest against police brutality, spurred on by issues of racism and with the police in their own countries. In Canada's capital city Ottawa, a couple of thousands of demonstrators swarmed the lawn and streets in front of the Parliament on Wellington Street to participate in the 'No Justice Until Peace' protest. However, the highlight of the protests that instantly sparked conversation online was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's unsolicited presence at the frontline of the protests.

CTV National News producer Mackenzie Gray took to Twitter to post frequent updates on the happenings outside of the Parliament. Trudeau was joined by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, MP Ahmed Hussein, MP Jean-Yves Duclos and MP Will Amos. They took the knee with the rest of crowd observing a moment of silence. Trudeau's arrival at the protest incited cheer from protesters, happy to see their leader express solidarity with them. Trudeau grasped onto a Black Lives Matter t-shirt as the protests were underway, heading down Elgin Street.

Twitter users lauded the Prime Minister's active involvement in the June 5 protests. "Partisanship aside. I can respect a leader who provides hope and solace for the people during times of unrest and uncertainty. I can respect a leader who stands with the people, taking a knee to show solidarity with those whose voices have been unheard. @JustinTrudeau #BLM," a user said.  

"I’m gonna buy knee pads with Trudeau embroidered on them," said one user, appreciating the PM kneeling as a show of solidarity with fellow Canadians by his side, while another added, "Thank you, Mr. Trudeau! Americans admire you."

A tweet read, "Getting more support from other world leaders than our own. We are like free world wannabes now." While they say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, this user had no qualms about drawing comparisons between some US protests and the Canadian demonstrations: "Oohh!! A world Leader can go outside, without blasting the protesters with tear gas!!" Trudeau's actions appealed to this user who asserted, "This is what a real leader does for his country" and another one that implores, "Can he be a hon US citizen plz?? we need more like him down here." On the contrary, some users were quick to call him out for his Blackface photos that surfaced last year, "So I guess we gonna forget about this?", and "Utter submission, he should have black faced too, I heard he's good at it."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the media regarding photos and video that have surfaced in which he is wearing dark makeup on September 19, 2019, in Winnipeg, Canada (Getty Images)

Although the protests have nulled the social distancing guidelines, leaving everyone vulnerable to the virus, most people adhered to the other preventive measure donning masks. Another large group of at least 200 protesters marched in front of the US Embassy in Ottawa, where it seems that the staff has put up placards and signs that read "Black Lives Matter", "We are ready to do the Work" and "We are committed to listening".

The Canadian contribution to the new global movement has only comprised of hundred per cent peaceful protests thus far as many people stood on the sidelines offering sanitizers, water and snacks to the people. The police also joined in supplying thirsty and dehydrated protesters with water.

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