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article imageAnti-poverty groups storm Toronto city hall, chaos ensues Special

By Andrew Moran     Feb 10, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - What started off as a debate over the city of Toronto's planned budget cuts at City Hall turned out to be a massive protest held by anti-poverty groups demonstrating against the cuts. Arrests were made, people were injured and insults were hurled.
During Mayor Rob Ford’s mayoral campaign, he promised that he would “end the gravy train” and get Toronto’s fiscal house in order. One of these measures includes cutting the budget, which would include various social services.
The proposed budget and cuts have been debated by City Council and the Ford administration and the general public provided their input last month at a series of public meetings held throughout the city.
The Ontario Coalition Against the Poverty (OCAP), No One is Illegal and other anti-poverty groups are against these planned cuts and have made their voices heard since Ford entered office in December.
On Thursday, the Budget Committee was in session, until activists and protestors stormed Committee Room 1 and began to state the implications of budget cuts.
Lisa Schofield of OCAP stood next to Councillor Doug Ford and began to yell, “We know what is that you propose to do. We know what you’re doing.”
During this time, she was asked to stop, but then security escorted the girl out of the room. Councillor Ford was also escorted, but was followed by the protestors.
“Stop the war on the poor. Make the Rich Pay” began to be chanted by the protestors in the Budget Committee. Schofield then told security that “I’m in my City Hall.”
The Budget Committee meeting was suspended, the Committee Room was closed. After the room was cleared, activists and police officers clashed. Both officers and emonstrators were being hit and shoved, Toronto Police officers began to make arrests and the area continued to get crowded.
Following the arrests, officers formed in a line and received verbal insults, including “We’re being arrested by Nazis.” The officers were also called “fascists” by a couple of protestors. OCAP activist Gaetan Heroux and others repeatedly asked where arrestees were. However, they did not receive any response from the officers.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was also hospitalized today for kidney stones. He's expected to make a full recovery.
Please check back for more details. There will be more to come on this story, including quotes from councillors, protest organizers. photographs and video clips.
More about OCAP, Toronto city hall, Protests, Rob Ford, Arrests
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