One week ago, thousands of people gathered in the financial district as part of Occupy Toronto
– a sect of the Occupy the World movement. They chanted, they marched and they made their voices heard to the levels of government, financial institutions and multi-national corporations.
As the week progressed, dozens of people established a tent city at St. James Park. However, the demonstrations and marches could not match the size and scope of Oct. 15’s Occupy Bay Street/Occupy Toronto protests.
Although there have been very minor incidences, such as the man who was arrested for allegedly sniffing a woman’s foot
, the movement has remained relatively peaceful. It has also promoted a wide variety of political philosophies and groups, including socialism, communism and other anti-capitalist sentiments.
On Saturday, under a gloomy autumn sky, protesters gathered once again to show their discontent to the present system and to city hall, predominantly Mayor Rob Ford.
Following a general assembly at St. James Park, where many people spoke for a couple of minutes to share ideas, their points of view and solutions, thousands marched from the park just after 2 p.m. to the financial district to city hall at approximately 2:45 p.m.
The march caused some delays for commuters and transit riders, but Occupy organizers were given thumps up and drivers honked their horns in support of the movement, the participators and their message.
The slogans “Whose streets? Our Streets,” “The people united will never be defeated” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Rob Ford has got to go” were only some of the chants being shouted across King and Bay Streets.
Toronto Police officers did not direct the march, but they did keep an eye on the demonstration from a distance. There have been no reports of damages or arrests.
The groups of people returned to St. James Park shortly before 5 p.m.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
spoke with one activist who sported a Guy Fawkes mask. The gentleman said that he has decided to stick with the movement until public and private officials acknowledge them, their message and their solutions.
“I was walking by a guy and he had a sign that said, ‘Why is there no maximum wage?’ and he really brought up a good point,” said Jim, who did not want to reveal his last name. “Why are people in government and in the private sector making $2 million, but some guy in Parkdale who works 10-hour days is only making $11/hour?”
Jim further explained that he wanted the mayor to resign – a similar sentiment felt amongst hundreds of the protesters.
“[Rob] Ford has been damaging this city since he first ran for mayor,” added Jim. “The guy promised not to make cuts, but he has cut, cut, cut and will make those who voted for him and the rest of the city suffer because of that. I think I’m a hard worker, but I still rely on many city services, just like many here and across the [Greater Toronto Area].”
Jim noted that the city should have adopted former mayoral candidate and Progressive Conservative candidate Rocco Rossi’s idea of a recall vote
. This method allows voters to stage a vote in the middle of a term if the representatives are not satisfying their constituents.
Occupy Toronto organizers are set for a meditation session and two general assemblies on Sunday.