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article imageOccupy Toronto: Thousands protest, march against banking system Special

By Andrew Moran     Oct 15, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - Thousands of protesters gathered at Toronto's Financial District as part of the Occupy the World movement. Occupy Toronto activists criticized the nation's banking system, governmental leaders and its economic structure.
Hundreds of cities took part in the Occupy the World protests throughout Saturday. What started off as a medium-sized protest in New York City last month that received little media coverage has now turned into one of the largest global protests in recent memory that has caught the attention of everyone.
In Toronto, thousands of concerned citizens and activists gathered in the heart of the city’s Financial District at the corner of King and Adelaide Streets in front of TD, CIBC and Scotiabank. The protesters held signs condemning the international banking industry and urging their governmental leaders to take the necessary actions to ensure the richest one percent pay.
One of many protesters wearing a Guy Fawkes mask at the Occupy Toronto rally.
One of many protesters wearing a Guy Fawkes mask at the Occupy Toronto rally.
Following the announcement of the day’s schedule by one of the organizers, thousands began to swarm the streets in a march on Bay Street to Adelaide Street to Church Street. The crowd then setup camp at St. James Park – literally too as many brought tents and sleeping bags.
Chants of “We are the 99 percent – you are the 99 percent,” “The people united will never be defeated” and “Make the rich pay” were echoed throughout the peaceful protest. There were all groups of people, including Communists, Marxists, Libertarians and a few anarchists.
The presence of police officers was very minimal Saturday. About a dozen or so cops were on their bicycle navigating the march. Many of the officers shared laughs with the protesters, took part in interviews and even posed for photos.
A man covering his lips with the old Canadian $2 bill and holding a sign urging the government to in...
A man covering his lips with the old Canadian $2 bill and holding a sign urging the government to invest in education and not "corporate greed."
Prior to the event, Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan issued a press release urging Toronto Police Service of not repeating “G20 abuses” and to “respect the rights of Occupy Toronto protesters.”
There have been no reports of injuries, arrests or damage to public and private poverty as of yet.
Speaking to the public
A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and holding a sign parodying the  Top 1%.
A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and holding a sign parodying the "Top 1%."
There has been some confusion among the general public and in the media as to what protestors are actually protesting about. DigitalJournal.com spoke with a couple of individuals to get their perspective on world affairs and why they joined the Occupy Toronto rally Saturday.
One of the individuals was Robert Barberis, a 36-year-old unemployed man who came to Canada from Greece in order to study at the University of Toronto. He told Digital Journal that he has woken up to what is occurring around the world. Barberis, a political science major, explained that the richest one percent control a majority of the world’s resources, policies and, to a certain extent, the people.
“The world has to realize that the people are starting to revolt against the establishment because we are fed up with capitalism, free markets, private enterprise and those in Ottawa, Washington, London, Beijing and elsewhere,” explained Barberis. “Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Toronto, Occupy wherever is just the beginning for us and we will eventually take back what is ours.”
One protester sporting a Guy Fawkes mask holds a sign in front of Toronto police officers not to  hu...
One protester sporting a Guy Fawkes mask holds a sign in front of Toronto police officers not to "hurt us."
When asked what he wants to see changed, Barberis stated that communism is probably the best alternative for the general population because it won’t have a small group of people earning $2.6 million per year and another vast amount of citizens barely earning minimum wage.
“The only positive that has come out of the financial collapse is that the people are waking up to the fact that laissez-faire, free market capitalism has failed us and now we must nationalize everything,” added Barberis. “I want to see everyone make the same wage, I want to see everyone be treated as equal, I want to see everyone, no matter who they are, have a home, proper medical care and a good education.”
Another protester that Digital Journal spoke with was more moderate and was just fed up with what has transpired over the past several years and the conduct of nations all over the globe, including Canada.
A man covering his lips with duct tape holding a sign  Justice for Tim Moorley  and  Celebrex kills....
A man covering his lips with duct tape holding a sign "Justice for Tim Moorley" and "Celebrex kills."
“For some reason, the world has lost its head, but I’m starting to lose faith that we could even screw it back on if we found it,” said Mike Moore, a 22-year-old gentleman who works retail. “I’m glad that all of us came here today because it shows the world that there still are Canadians that care.”
Moore further explained that he doesn’t have any political affiliation and hardly follows politics, but understands that there is something seriously wrong with the country.
“When you have such a gap between the rich and poor, you sooner or later start to ask tough questions, think about what is actually going on and engage yourself in public affairs,” added Moore. He isn’t asking for any radical changes, but wants more accountability, a higher wage and enhanced safety nets from all three levels of government.
“Sure, there are some groups here who are too extreme, but the majority of us are asking for fairness.”
A concerned Toronto individual looks on as one billboard reads   1% Margin of Error.
A concerned Toronto individual looks on as one billboard reads, "1% Margin of Error."
A lady in a wheelchair urging people to  stand up for your rights  leads the march.  Thousands were ...
A lady in a wheelchair urging people to "stand up for your rights" leads the march. Thousands were behind her walking the streets of downtown Toronto.
A protester holding the Canadian flag dripping with oil.
A protester holding the Canadian flag dripping with oil.
An individual carrying a  Karl Marx was Wrong  sign.  He spoke with another person about how Marx ha...
An individual carrying a "Karl Marx was Wrong" sign. He spoke with another person about how Marx has never been right about anything.
A man covering his lips with the old Canadian $2 bill and holding a sign urging the government to in...
A man covering his lips with the old Canadian $2 bill and holding a sign urging the government to invest in education and not "corporate greed."
A group of sympathizers for an Air Canada union holds a banner criticizing government intervention i...
A group of sympathizers for an Air Canada union holds a banner criticizing government intervention in negotiations.
Thousands of protesters marching along the streets of Toronto chanting   We are the 99 percent - you...
Thousands of protesters marching along the streets of Toronto chanting, "We are the 99 percent - you are the 99 percent."
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