Trudeau showed up unannounced to the anti-racism protest on Parliament Hill to hear speeches from activists demanding fairer treatment from police for minorities.
Trudeau joined the large crowd in kneeling in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds — which is how long a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, was seen in a video holding down George Floyd with his knee on his neck before he died.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders also took a knee during a protest in that city on Friday.
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick launched the kneeling protest years ago when he took a knee during the national anthem to protest violent police treatment of African-Americans. His critics accused him of showing disrespect for the anthem and the American flag.
When Trudeau arrived, he tried to blend in with other protesters but his presence was quickly noticed.
Trudeau told his security detail to stop pushing people as he made his way closer to the stage where the speakers were addressing the crowd.
Trudeau’s arrival was initially met with chants of “Stand up to Trump!” and “Go away!” from some in the crowd. However, the chants died down as activists started speaking and demanding an end to racial injustice at home and abroad.
Trudeau did not speak at the event, though he clapped and nodded along with some of the other speakers, including a moment when a speaker asserted there is no middle ground on racism. At another point, he yelled “Amen” along with other protesters after a speaker discussed promoting love and justice.
Below is a video of Trudeau taking a knee.