It was a chore just to get there. 🙂 I got on the subway and they had closed from Woodbine to Broadview. This meant waiting on a shuttle bus – that never came. Luckily I know my way around the city and went around.
I really enjoyed this! The rally was peaceful, there was music and laughter… people coming together with hopes – a gathering of like minded souls. There were some incredibly creative methods of getting messages out there.
Then we got to hear John Clarke speak – and I just adore him! He is one of THE best speakers I’ve ever heard on ANY topic. He is so motivating and I’m lucky to have heard him three times now.
The march began! We all knew it was risky going in, and everyone was ready. The police presence was huge, as was expected – but I was surprised there weren’t any police on horses or bikes – the last march saw them in abundance. The march was incredible. We took the same route as the last march – which means up Carlton, past Yonge… and through there – if you know the area – it’s like a huge wind tunnel with all the tall buildings on either side. This time was magnificent. The chanting echo climbing up the buildings, empowering. People gathered on their balconies and on the sidewalk, cheering and taking pictures.
Once we were about to cross Yonge Street the problems started. The police had – unbeknownst to us until a whispered rumor trickled down the line – started forcing the marchers back to from whence it came. lol But the back, where we were close to, was still going forward. I noticed a lot of police bicycles suddenly pull up all along the sides of the parade. The police got off their bikes, put the kick stands up and removed their helmets. Then they put on riot helmets. I nudged my two partners (we all went with partners) and advised them of what was going on and that I felt something was afoot.
Just then the people who had come to the rally and dressed all in black (Black Blok), hiding their identities, came along side the marchers – in a long procession – single file, carrying black cloth, all sewn together, to hide behind. Right beside us. On the other side we had some guys with bandanas over their faces. We know this was in case of pepper spray, or tear gas.. but the police beside us were discussing who they were keeping an eye on. We were basically in the worst place possible. lol I pointed these facts out to my partners and we all agreed that maybe we should pull out. The police wouldn’t let us leave… so we went to the very back of the march and were finally allowed out.
As we stood watching the rear of the crowd – a row of guys got in front of the – suddenly there – row of bicycle police. The guys with the signs kneeled down on the pavement in front of the police on bikes and were chanting… then they got up and did a group hug.
In front of the police on bikes was a row of police on foot, in riot gear… these officers started to advance, pushing the row of sign laden guys up to Yonge Street… slowly… and the guys were dancing and frolicking in front of the police, taking their time, unconcerned….poking the bear, as it were. Luckily no one got hurt there.
They pushed the entire crowd up past Yonge Street… and – we didn’t know this until after – but the crowd had stopped because the police had arrested a man. A man that tried to cross their barrier… he wanted to go to the store – he was deaf. They took him to the newly created Jail holding cells on Eastern. His friends knew what happened and stayed at the jail through the night chanting and demanding his release.
The police had brought in two big trucks that are used for moving prisoners from jails to courts, and back. They then backed them out. Pure intimidation. Then they brought in the horses… these police officers followed the march.
The march that I was in later returned to Allan Gardens – where we had started – and built a tent city to protest homeless issues. They slept there, chanting unill about 11:00 pm, peacefully, and had breakfast in the morning – with the intent of returning to today’s march – “Get Off The Fence”.
I was going to go today, but I’m exhausted. lol It didn’t take much to be talked out of it – since it was raining and I am starting to feel rather run down. Tomorrow is the hard core march – the militant march – where groups will confront the G20 at the fence that was built to protect them. I won’t be part of that. In fact, my daughter just called to make sure I’m not there…there’s pure mayhem downtown right now. Today was supposed to be peaceful, there are children there – but someone blew up a police car, apparently. 😦