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A local organizer with the Black Lives Matter rally in Yellowknife has came out in opposition to spray paint vandalism perpetrated at the Centre Square Mall parkade last weekend, which depicted the movement’s initials on vehicles, walls and pavement.

The Centre Square Mall parkade was targetted in two separate incidents of spray paint vandalism last weekend. According to photos provided to NNSL Media, there was more than one depiction of the Black Lives Matter initials painted as part of that graffiti. Ambe Chenemu, an organizer affiliated with the BLM movement and June 9 rally in Yellowknife, said in a statement Wednesday that those markings don’t represent the movement and its efforts to fight, police brutality and police accountability.
photo courtesy of Brad Enge

Ambe Chenemu, who was among the main speakers and organizers at the Yellowknife BLM rally on June 9, stated this week that the movement opposes the acts of vandalism and the local group had no affiliation.

“We are saddened to hear about the property that was vandalized and graffiti painted on some vehicles and walls at the Northern Heights condo parkade,” he stated.

“This is not the spirit of our city and it is quite disturbing and frightening to see such a horrible thing happen here. A lot of residents including myself are still struggling with the challenges brought by Covid-19 and I can’t even begin to imagine what the victims of this senseless act are having to deal with. The perpetrator(s) spray painted graffiti associated with BLM.”

Chenemu also stated that he hopes those responsible for the damage are found.

“I want to state here clearly that BLM is against any such acts of vandalism,” he stated.

“To the best of my knowledge, no one has been identified or charged at this time and we hope the individual(s) responsible get apprehended and prosecuted accordingly. I would like to emphasize that these types of sentiments and actions are what the black coalition has to deal with constantly to distract from the main conversation about anti-Black racism.”

“This is exactly what we are fighting against.”

RELATED COVERAGE: Vehicles, walls defaced at downtown Yellowknife parkade

The Yellowknife RCMP stated in a news release on Tuesday that two incidents at the mall parkade are under investigation. The first incident is believed to have taken place between the evening of Saturday, July 4 and the morning of Sunday July 5.

Ambe Chenemu, who was among the main speakers and organizers at the Yellowknife BLM rally on June 9, speaks to the crowd during the event.
NNSL file photo

The second incident, police believe, took place on Monday between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

Witnesses are asked to call the RCMP at 669-1111 or anonymously provide information through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. People can also sent an email through nwtnutips.com by submitting a web tip or by texting “nwtnutips”  with the message to 274637.

Black Lives Matter, an international organization which fights racism and police brutality against black people, does not have a former chapter in the Northwest Territories, however there have been community rallies in Yellowknife, Hay River and Inuvik over the last month supporting the movement.

These rallies came about following the death of George Floyd who died due to excessive police conduct while apprehended in Minneapolis, MN on May 25.

 

 

 

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Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University...

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