Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Winnipegians demand answers on the death of young Afolabi Stephen Opaso

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People formed a long line Saturday in downtown Winnipeg to pay tribute to 19-year-old Afolabi student Stephen Opaso and demand answers about the true circumstances of his death.


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Members of Winnipeg's Black community and several others paid tribute Saturday in Winnipeg to Afolabi Stephen Opaso, the 19-year-old student from Nigeria who lost his life during a police intervention earlier this year. Participants in a march took the opportunity to demand explanations about the circumstances of his death.

The memorial march began in front of Union Station and continued to the Manitoba Legislative Building.

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Participants in the Afolabi Stephen Opaso Man March marched in front of the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg.

Participants included comrades of young deceased, students from different universities and parents affected by this tragedy

“It touched me a lot because I have never lost someone I knew or was so close to,” said Femi, a participant in the gathering.

For some students, it was difficult to go to class and try to get by, said Dola, another person present.

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Participants in the tribute to young Afolabi Stephen Opaso demanded an end to police brutality.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">For many people, the death of Afolabi Stephen Opaso raises questions about the circumstances of the police intervention. The march therefore aims to demand justice both for the deceased young man and for anyone struggling with all forms of injustice.

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The atmosphere is gloomy as you will see, we are here for Afolabi. And for all those who deserve justice, protection. We are here to tell this Parliament Hill that we need justice for all, says the vice-president of the Association of African Communities of Manitoba, René Tondji-Simen.

Even though an investigation is underway to shed light on the tragedy, lawyer Jean-René Dominique Kwilu, who represents the family of Afolabi Stephen Opaso, reiterates the desire of the black community for reforms to avoid the reproduction of such tragedies.

It is the everyday demands to ensure that there are cameras, that #x27;they [the police] wear cameras, says Mr. Kwilu.

And also from the point of view of these kinds of incidents, when it's charitable appeals for mental health and all that, that it first be a team of civilians who arrive from the experts in mental health before we can immediately deploy 911, he continues.

The death of the young student sparked reactions beyond the Manitoba. A petition has been started online. More than 10,000 signatures were collected to request intervention from federal authorities.

On December 31, 2023, Winnipeg Police Service officers received a call about a man behaving erratically at an apartment on University Crescent shortly before 2 p.m. 30.

When they arrived, they encountered a man who was armed with two knives. This is how a police officer shot him. Transported to hospital in critical condition, the 19-year-old man succumbed to his injuries.

Le Téléjournal Manitoba

With information from Natalia Weichsel

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