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article imageBudget rally in Toronto turns ugly; activists clash with police Special

By Andrew Moran     Jan 17, 2012 in Politics
Toronto - Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of Toronto City Hall for a peaceful protest against Mayor Rob Ford's proposed budget cuts. Following the rally, hundreds clashed with police officers at the entrance of city hall.
City council started the first phase of debates over the 2012 capital and operating budget, which would see more than $300 million in cuts to various social and community initiatives and programs. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has vowed to get Toronto’s fiscal picture under control.
The City realized that there are many opposed to the proposed budgetary measures. When Digital Journal arrived at city hall, the elevators were locked and no one, other than staff members, was allowed to the council chambers.
Many convened in the rotunda and some members of the press were not able to get inside the chamber.
As members of council debated the budget and introduced various motions, hundreds of public union members, community representatives, activists and concerned citizens gathered outside of city hall. Although it was windy, mild and raining, the spirit and enthusiasm of the protesters thrived.
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers.  The peaceful pro...
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers. The peaceful protest became violent after activists wanted to enter city hall.
Following the rally, which saw speeches from City employees and songs from community workers, chaos broke out.
A line up of Toronto police officers did not permit anyone to enter city hall, which frustrated many protesters who wanted to convey their message to councillors and the mayor. As dozens of individuals attempted to break through the horde of officers, disorder immediately became rampant. The large crowd tried their hardest to push through the cops.
This led the officers to establish a rail barrier. Unfortunately for them, this did not stop the protesters. The phalanx of activists and community groups tried to break down the barrier and get inside city hall. There were periods of peace, but others instigated more clashes.
As protesters fought and exchanged words with officers, pepper spray was used to ward off the people. This reporter was on the receiving end of it and was also pushed on all sides in the middle of the pandemonium. Eventually, Digital Journal got to the front of the crowd and was forcefully pushed into the officers. Luckily, two of the police officers understood that there were members of the press involved.
At least four individuals were arrested and several others appeared to be slightly wounded – two ladies were crying and felt serious neck pain. Toronto EMS workers were treating those exposed to pepper spray and mild injuries.
In the end, the proposed cuts in the $9.4 billion budget were approved with a vote of 39-5 with several amendments to lessen the cutbacks.
Below is a clip of Tuesday's evening protests. A video the entire demonstration and clashes with police can be found above.
Please note that this is a breaking news story. Digital Journal will provide a full account of Tuesday’s activities on Wednesday afternoon. Please check back for further updates.
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers.  The peaceful pro...
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers. The peaceful protest became violent after activists wanted to enter city hall.
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers.  The peaceful pro...
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers. The peaceful protest became violent after activists wanted to enter city hall.
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers.  The peaceful pro...
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers. The peaceful protest became violent after activists wanted to enter city hall.
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers.  The peaceful pro...
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers. The peaceful protest became violent after activists wanted to enter city hall.
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers.  The peaceful pro...
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers. The peaceful protest became violent after activists wanted to enter city hall.
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers.  The peaceful pro...
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers. The peaceful protest became violent after activists wanted to enter city hall.
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers.  The peaceful pro...
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers. The peaceful protest became violent after activists wanted to enter city hall.
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers.  The peaceful pro...
Hundreds of protesters outside of city hall clashing with Toronto police officers. The peaceful protest became violent after activists wanted to enter city hall.
More about City hall, Protests, 2012 budget, stop the cuts, Rob Ford
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