Crowd chants “stop police brutality” as hundreds gather at Medicine Hat, Alberta demonstration

Medicine Hat, Alberta – It seems the global COVID-19 pandemic has taken a backseat in Medicine Hat, Alberta.  On Friday, June 5, 2020, hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Medicine Hat City Hall Plaza, during the pandemic, to lend their voices to the global movement against racism and police brutality.

Several speakers addressed the crowd with speeches that included reading a list of people who have been killed at the hands of police.

“It was a very Canadian demonstration,” said YouTuber Darin, who shot the video. “It mostly consisted of demonstrators agreeing with everything the presenters had to say, a lot of cheering, sign waving and smiling faces covered by masks. There was no violence or talk of violence”.

Black Lives Matter - Medicine Hat Demonstration
(Darin’s 4KPLAY, YouTube) Black Lives Matter – Medicine Hat Demonstration

At one point, an ambulance and medics arrived at the demonstration to provide medical care to an elderly demonstrator who had too much sun.  Demonstration organizers made a point of letting everyone know the ambulance was not there because of violence.

Most of the people in the crowd, estimated to be around 400-500 people,  were wearing masks.  COVID-19 is still a concern in Alberta,  but not enough of a concern to keep the demonstrators away.  Medicine Hat has not seen a lot of COVID cases. At the time of the demonstration, there were five active cases in the city.

“I was shocked so many people turned out for this during the pandemic,” Darin from Darin’s 4KPlay said.  “No one seemed to be too worried about breaking the rules to meet in a large group, but at least most were wearing a mask.”

Comments on Facebook mostly focused on the fact the event was held during the pandemic, ignoring temporary laws designed to reduce the spread of COVID by limiting the number of people who can gather together in one place. Only a few comments touched on the actual topic behind the gathering. The true meaning of the event has been over-taken by the timing of the gathering during the pandemic.

“I stand for the support but it seems that even though public gathering restrictions are still in effect, we’re gonna turn a ‘blind eye’ to the lack of physical distancing and no face mask in large shared public areas. Just saying, if you want to be taken seriously, maybe don’t ignore the other important ‘things’. Be safe and stay healthy to all those who attended,” said Facebook user Dominique F.


Another Facebook user, Cory, said, “How many tickets were given out for not obeying public health laws? Or are we done pretending that it’s a real thing?”


It won’t be long before we know if holding the event during the pandemic will cause Medicine Hat’s low COVID caseload to soar or remain the same.

Medicine Hat City Police attended the rally.  They mostly watched the proceedings from across the street. Event organizers made a point of thanking both uniformed and plain clothes police officers for attending. Words directed at the local police force were kind and respectful given the topic of the demonstration.

“I am proud that I live in a city where our police service has chosen to be deliberately anti-racist in their municipal approach. This is a step towards rehabilitation within our own community. With that being said, thanks to the officers in uniform and not in uniform for joining us today and every day,” a speaker announced to the crowd. The comment was met with cheers and clapping hands.

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