More than 80 people marched along Central Avenue in peaceful protest and prayer Friday afternoon against a violent assault that left a woman critically injured June 1 in Prince Albert.
Police found 47-year-old Marlene Bird in critical condition in a parking lot next to the Gateway Mall and the Margo Fournier Center Sunday afternoon.
“When I heard about Marlene and how bad she was hurt, I thought about how could no one hear her screaming? Somebody must have seen or heard,” said Wendy Mirasty, organizer of the march.
Mirasty would often see Bird walking downtown to go to school at the local campus of the First Nations University. She described Bird as humble and kind.
“She has a presence that makes you not take life for granted, if you know what I mean,” she said.
The goal was to get people to realize they can’t be a bystander to violence anymore, Mirasty explained.
“We don’t know if Marlene’s going to make it out of this. She had to get one of her legs amputated, she was burned and at the same time she was beaten,” said Mirasty.
The march began at the Venice House parking lot on Central Avenue and ended at the spot where the police found Bird. The group moved down Central, holding signs and photos of Bird as some among them chanted “stop the violence.”
Marjorie Gerome and her husband were out Sunday afternoon when they saw the police cars and tape around the area where Bird was found. She learned later from the news what happened there.
“[I was] just shocked and horrified that something that bad could happen to somebody,” said Gerome.
Gerome came out to give her support and prayers for Bird’s recovery and her family. She said she hopes they catch whoever did the assault, and that it doesn’t happen again.
“Everybody kind of watch out for everybody, don’t go out alone. Always be with a group of people you know and trust, and always be watching for things unusual happening,” she warned.
Camilla Morin was also there, holding a sign as she marched. Morin met Bird at the Prince Albert Outreach Centre, where Bird often comes in for church, a meal and a conversation.
In times like these, people need to be a voice for others, said Morin.
“If you see something going on, don’t just turn the other cheek and be like, ‘oh, they’re going to settle it themselves,’ and just walk away,” she said.
“Phone the police, phone for help, don’t just let things slide,” said Morin. “Don’t let it escalate where something bad is going to happen.”
The group held a prayer at the end of the march for Bird.
- with files from Thia James
On Twitter: @brynhadubiak
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