So night has come to night 1 of Occupy Toronto and I didn’t know what to expect but having been here now I can see that a core group of at last a hundred or so are digging in. Sanitation is in place, a food tent is active to keep the protesters feed, and the drums continue to echo. Minutes ago there was a fire show just off to the side that kept people entertained on this cool winter night.
Now the question is to ask is not just what comes next but how long will it go and what does that mean for the city of Toronto. In the shadow of the G20 the entire mood of this protest is different, which hopefully means the Police department will not treat it the same way it was during the G20.
There have been mixed messages that say that people will not be ticketed if they spend the night where at the same time there are rumours that the police want to check the space for illegal substances in St James Park in the early morning hours.
Will the television crews covering Occupy Toronto stay to those early morning hours or will they be gone.
I don’t know what will happen or what to expect but it has been peaceful so far. Will the city allow this protest to continue, can they afford to let it turn from a protest to a movement?
With the large crowds gone many people who are staying have setup shop. Well before the sun set people began to take to the bottle or something else and that is hard to control in such a diverse crowd. So I can’t blame the police for wanting to check the park for illegal substances to ensure everyone’s safety but whether they take it to the next level is yet to be seen.
Who knows what will happen but I am debating on whether or not I should tough it out.
The 99% are speaking out today; the Park is filled with people of all stripes, cameras that are capturing the moments, and signs that act as a voice for those with a message.
The list of grievances is large and they can go from the broad and vague like bankers are thieves to the very specific like we should not drill in the oil sands.
I find as I walk around it is more than just spreading the messages but being with others who are in their own way finding for what they are passionate about. How so many groups can come together and organize as a whole shows us the power of the collective to rally in these hard times.
Each group respectful of the others around and no one speaks for everyone but for themselves and their own causes. I am inspired by their ability to stand up and support their brethren, Occupy Wall Street.
Great job to everyone who was here on day 1.
I am about to see what the protests are like at St James Park in downtown Toronto. With only a camcorder, mic and iPhone in hand I had to come. I remember the G20 protests and this one already feels different. As if the lessons on all sides were taken to heart.
The turnout is better than I expected given the weather, there are drums beating and enough signs to make a house from. The messages are diverse and the people are energized. The tents are up and you wonder if this will go for a day or a week.
There a great energy here and they are about go on with the rally and the mass out front are leading the crowd in a cheer showing their support of Occupy Wall Street.
It makes me think that no matter who you are or where you live many of the fundamental issues are the same. They are based on a frustration that has escalated since the global recession.
On September 17th a protest came into existence, that was when Occupy Wall Street began in New York City. Since then the movement has spread from the towers of Wall Streets to cities across the globe including Toronto, with Occupy Toronto on tap for today.
Occupy Wall Street was inspired in part by the occupation of Tahrir Square during the Egyptian revolution and the arab spring that has toppled 3 regimes in the region so far. Occupy Wall Street and its affiliates reflect the frustration people have had since the global recession and the growing inequality between the haves and the have-nots.