Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has been accused of hypocrisy after being seen kneeling during an anti-racism protest in Ottowa on Friday.
People were quick to point to Trudeau's problematic past, namely pictures of him in blackface which surfaced last year in the run-up to the election, which he subsequently won.
Earlier this week, Trudeau was asked about Donald Trump's threatening to use military force against protests who have taken to the streets in the last week to demand justice following the death of George Floyd who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.
Trudeau took an astonishing 20-second pause before replying, and said that he "watched in horror and condemnation" what was happening in the US. But he stopped short of condemning the president, a fact which did not go unnoticed.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was just asked to comment directly on President Trump's handling of the prot… https://t.co/YzQFD6O3ym
According to Bloomberg, people were chanting "Stand up to Trump" during the protest in Canada.
Meanwhile Canada is facing its own issues with racial inequality, after police killed Chatel Moore, an indigenous woman, during what was supposed to be a "wellness check" on Thursday. A video also emerged showing police driving into an indigenous man, appearing to purposely use a car to knock him down before arresting him.
Across social media, people have been condeming Trudeau for what they see as an empty gesture in the face of such issues.
Justin Trudeau kneeling at an Anti Racist Anti Police protest as if Canadian Police around the country aren’t terro… https://t.co/F0tTz26Egw
Trudeau said on Friday that "far too many Canadians feel fear and anxiety at the sight of a law enforcement officer," and called for an end to police discrimination against indigenous people and people of colour.
But earlier in the day he failed to actually answer any questions about specific policy changes which could address this.
Andray Domise, a Toronto-based writer, told The Guardian:
I'm not interested in bullshit publicity stunts, especially now.
How the hell can you kneel against police brutality? When everything in your record indicates you have no problem with it. It boggles the mind to watch him turn to the camera – almost like he was confirming that he was being filmed – and kneeling.
Here's hoping the Canadian PM adds substance to his gestures.