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article imageAnonymous threatens to take Toronto off web over Occupy threats

By Andrew Moran     Nov 14, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - A group who is claiming to be Anonymous has threatened in a YouTube video to remove the city of Toronto off of the Internet if Mayor Rob Ford removes Occupy Toronto protesters from St. James Park.
This month, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford urged the Occupy Toronto protesters to conclude their occupation of St. James Park peacefully. Digital Journal reported last week that the demonstration has caused $25,000 worth of damages and could cost an additional $40,000 if the City cannot winterize their sprinkler system.
It is unclear what the mayor plans to do regarding the occupiers, but whatever he does, many will not be thrilled.
Over the weekend, the famous hacking group, Anonymous, published a YouTube video that threatened the mayor and city hall. The international organization promised that if Ford removed the protesters then they would remove Toronto from the Internet.
“While it seems next week authorities want to put an end to the Occupy movement in Toronto, we Anonymous are taking that as an interruption and we will not let that happen,” said the computer generated voice. “We all have freedom of speech and opinions to express and they are doing it peacefully. There is no need for you to put an end to the occupation in Toronto.”
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
It went onto explain that it will not let the mayor “who uses vulgar language in public” get involved. “If you do not change your mind, you shall be removed from the Internet. We have already planned for this. So if we see any interruptions, we will launch the operation we have planned for a while.”
Since Nov. 13, the video titled “Anonymous – A Message to Occupy Toronto” has garnered 1,339 views with 97 “likes” and eight “dislikes.” There have been more than 80 comments, and many of them are asking what exactly does removing Toronto off of the web mean.
Whatever it is, the Mayor’s Office is not taken aback by the threat.
In an email to Digital Journal, Adrienne Batra, the mayor’s press secretary, said that every part of this situation is continuing to be monitored.
“We have been working to balance people's right to protest with public safety. Residents and businesses have been very reasonable and patient, while the protesters have been peaceful and we are appreciative of this,” said Batra.
“However, the Mayor and City Manager have been clear over the past week - it's time this came to a peaceful conclusion. They do not have a permit and we are asking them to leave.”
The Occupy Toronto General Assembly issued a press release Sunday where they addressed Ford’s statements. They noted that they are not in St. James Park to make a point, but to rather bring about change to the system.
“We are occupying St. James Park to practice direct democracy, discuss solutions to local, national, and global problems, dialogue with various community groups, and to address various issues in our communities,” said the Occupy Toronto General Assembly.
Late last week, a very small number of Occupy Toronto protesters attempted to spread the occupation to Queen’s Park, but to no avail.
Digital Journal sought comments from members of city council late Sunday evening, but requests have not been responded to as of yet.
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