Heather Friesen standing in front of the Kelowna RCMP detachment on March 2, 2020 after it announced it would be implementing a sexual assault unit. Friesen is a vocal advocate of Kelowna’s sexual assault survivors. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Heather Friesen standing in front of the Kelowna RCMP detachment on March 2, 2020 after it announced it would be implementing a sexual assault unit. Friesen is a vocal advocate of Kelowna’s sexual assault survivors. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Social justice advocate yells at Kelowna council, demands presence at Black Lives Matter rally

Heather Friesen has again taken to council chambers to make her opinion heard

The rallying cries of one person who will be participating in the Kelowna’s peaceful Black Lives Matter rally on Friday (June 5) are already echoing through council chambers.

At the end of a nearly two-hour-long council meeting on Monday (June 1), Heather Friesen piped up as she has many times before — this time, demanding city council’s presence at the rally on Friday.

As Friesen began her minute-long rant, the mayor adjourned the meeting and exited chambers.

Friesen continued to yell at the remaining city councillors, asking them if they’re planning on attending the rally.

“You tweet about it; you praise Vancouver for it,” she shouted, pointing at Coun. Ryan Donn. “Go to the one here and support Black Lives Matter here.”

Coun. Mohini Singh was quick with a retort: “Don’t yell. How do you know we’re not going to be there?”

Friesen, a vocal advocate of the city’s sexual assault survivors, is no stranger to making her opinion known to city council. She’s done so twice before, confronting the mayor and council at a meeting in both November 2019 and February 2020 regarding the city’s at-the-time 40 per cent unfounded sexual assault numbers.

After an investigation by the RCMP’s federal Sexual Assault Review Team concluded in February, it was found several cases in that 40 per cent unfounded were classified improperly. After reclassification, the local detachment’s numbers came in line with the national average of around 15 per cent. The Kelowna RCMP also implemented a sexual assault unit and reopened 12 sexual assault files following the federal review.

No city councillors confirmed their attendance at Friday’s rally before exiting council chambers.

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP to further investigate 12 sexual assault cases, create sexual assault unit

READ MORE: ‘Please be quiet,’ Kelowna Mayor tells sexual assault survivor protesting in council chambers

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