REGINA — Rallies in Canadian cities that were sparked by the acquittal of a man accused of murdering an Indigenous teen in Winnipeg continued Saturday, including one that briefly blocked an intersection for a round dance.
Marchers in Regina edged their way out into traffic at the intersection of Albert Street and Victoria Avenue as traffic zoomed past, and they eventually blocked all four sides while chanting "Justice for Tina" and "Tina's Life Matters."
A half-dozen drummers and singers made their way to the centre. Then many of the people around the edge clasped hands for several minutes while the drumming and singing continued.
"I choose not to feed hopelessness. I feed being hopeful," Brenda Dubois told the crowd moments before they walked to the intersection.
On Thursday, a jury in Winnipeg found Raymond Cormier not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, whose body was pulled from the Red River in the summer of 2014.
Fontaine had been wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks.
Hundreds marched in Winnipeg the following day, where Indigenous leaders reiterated that social services and the justice system are failing Indigenous youth.
Fontaine was in government care and was staying at a hotel when she disappeared.
Dubois, whose grandmother, as well as friends, were murdered in Regina, said it's time for social services to return Indigenous children. She told the event on Saturday there are more kids in the care of social services than were in residential schools.
"You know what they're doing now? They're taking away the children of the children they raised," she said.
Cormier admitted on undercover police tapes that he had sex with the teen and was heard saying he bet Tina was killed because he found out she was only 15.
The defence had argued that the tapes were hard to hear, that the transcriptions could be wrong and that Cormier's denial to police of any involvement was the real truth.
There was no DNA evidence linking him to Tina and experts could not determine how she died.
Rallies were also held Saturday in Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria.
Signs at many of the rallies also called for "Justice for Colten," linking Cormier's acquittal with a similar one earlier this month in the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Indigenous man Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan.
A sign that was held up at the Vancouver event on Saturday said: "Canada is a serial killer of Indigenous people."
The Canadian Press