A man has been arrested after appearing during an anti-racism protest inspired by George Floyd with his skin painted black.
Shocking video footage shows the white man who disrupted a peaceful demonstration earlier today in Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Canada.
After being in the middle of a crowd with his face, hair and hands covered in racially offensive black paint, a tense stalemate causes police and protesters.
You can then hear the man shout, “I have to be free to do what I want.”
The clip later shows that he is being led away by a group of officers.
The man has now been arrested and charged by the Toronto Police Department for the beach of peace, Worldwide news reports.
Global News reporter Kamil Karamali posted a video of the tense exchange on Twitter: “Someone wearing black face paint shows up against protests against black racism in Nathan Phillips Square and is escorted out of the area by police.
“The police are escorting the person with black face paint from Nathan Phillips Square – several people are following them and asking for the person’s arrest.
“The Toronto Police Department told me that the person wearing black face paint who ended up in the middle of a peaceful protest against anti-black racism was arrested for breaking the peace and causing a disturbance.”
Blackface is widely considered a racist practice dating back to after the American Civil War, when white artists began to paint their faces black to mock slaves in minstrel shows.
It comes after Canadians have joined protesters in the U.S. and around the world to take a stand against racial discrimination following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25.
Many of those who protested in Nathan Phillips Square, where Toronto police officers took a “knee” in addition to solidarity with Mr. Floyd, are said to be high school students.
Floyd, 46, died in police custody after former officer Derek Chauvin pressed him to the floor with his knee in the neck for nearly nine minutes.
A disturbing video of the arrest, in which the unarmed black man claimed he could not breathe, has sparked protests against racism and police brutality for two weeks worldwide.