Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defeated thousands in front of the Canadian Parliament on Friday to show solidarity with US protesters marching against racism and police brutality.
It has been a rare public outing for the Canadian leader since the COVID-19 pandemic began when protests spread outside the United States after police in Minnesota killed an unarmed black man.
"Far too many Canadians are afraid and concerned when they see police officers," Trudeau said earlier in the day at his daily meeting.
"In the past few weeks, we have seen a large number of Canadians suddenly wake up to the fact that the discrimination that is a reality for far too many of our fellow citizens must end."
Trudeau, holding a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, sang behind a mask along with the crowd that spanned several blocks to the US Embassy, and stood silent for eight minutes and 46 seconds later.
This was the length of time a white cop in Minneapolis knelt on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed African American who died after saying "I can't breathe".
The video of Floyd's death on May 25 has gone viral, sometimes triggering violent protests in the United States and mass demonstrations in European capitals and elsewhere.
"Look at the diversity of this crowd," said Family Minister Ahmed Hussen, who joined Trudeau in the protest in Ottawa. "These are not just black Canadians. They are all who say that black lives are important."
Similar protests took place in cities across Canada.
In Toronto, police chief Mark Saunders and several uniformed officers met protesters marching through the city center and also knelt.
"We'll see you and listen," he tweeted. "We all have to stay together to change something."
Saunders' actions were praised by Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford, who described pictures of the city's first black chief of police who joined the demonstrators as "effective."
"You call that true leadership," he said.
Ottawa protester Stephane Kribodo said there was too much racism – "in the world, in France, in the United States, in Canada".
"It is important to resist if we want to change anything," he said.
Another protester, Sophie Scott, repeated this view and found several cases of alleged police misconduct in Canada.
Two women with mental health problems in Toronto and the city of Edmundston in New Brunswick died after asking the police for help. An Inuit man in the far north was hit by a police cruiser.
"We want a just (pandemic) recovery for everyone and that requires action against racism," said Scott.
On Tuesday, Trudeau was speechless and paused for 20 seconds as he urged his thoughts on U.S. President Donald Trump's threat of military mobilization against violent protests.
"We are all horrified and dismayed to see what's going on in the United States," he said finally.
Now "it's a time to listen, a time to bring people together and learn about the injustices that have been going on for years and decades despite progress," he added.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)