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Posts tagged ‘march’

Take Back the Night


I attended a rally and march.  This isn’t my *usual* kind of march.  This one is about women taking back the night, their streets, their dignity, strength and safety.  It’s against violence, rapes, killing of women – and children.

It started off with many people in attendance at Dundas Square.  There was laughing and dancing and music on stage… speakers, drummers.  All very pleasant.  It was the 30th year for this march.  At eight pm we prepared to march the streets of Toronto.  OUR streets.  The woman on stage announced the beginning of the march by telling the men that we all thanked them…those who had turned out to support the women in their lives.  It was appreciated, but it was time to take to the streets… she said,

“it’s for women and children only… and Men?  WE’VE GOT THIS!”

It was by far the loudest march I’ve been on this year.  It was rather something!!  We had people directing us, but a very small show of police (compared to all year at other marches).  It was a huge crowd and it was loud, angry, strong, confident and did I mention, huge?  The line of people marching, at times, covered three roads.  As we turned a corner to a new street you could look behind and see that the *snake* of people were on the street you were leaving and still turning from the street behind that.

I took a moment and looked at the women around me.  All that strength and love.  I felt the unity, empowering and joining us.  We were as one.  And I felt sad.  I felt sad that these people all felt so safe, but tomorrow when they ventured out of their homes – they would not have 200 or so sisters beside them, protecting them – not even in theory.  I felt sad that women often go against one another.  What would the world be like if we all stood as one, everyday?  Not just on a special occasion?  If we weren’t all suspicious of one another, pitted against one another.  If we realized we are all humans… and as women, loving and strong and very compassionate.  It saddened me because it gave a false sense of security – these women were no safer in their day to day lives… and they won’t be – so long as there isn’t a change that involves everyone.  It took years and years for people to develop these misconceptions and beliefs, it won’t change overnight.


What if one day we all realized that society pits women against one another. … that women are objectified in every magazine, in commercials… pictures of this piece of a woman’s anatomy to sell this product, or that bit of a woman to sell another?   Making women seem to be bits and pieces, rather than a whole… What if we realized that the media tells us to be thin, in words and in pictures… and being as thin as *they* want us, makes us weak.  It makes us physically weak, and unhealthy.  Unable to have children or proper monthly cycles, or confidence or able to fight back against a patriarchal society.  What if we did stop listening to them and fought back?  The backlash would be incredible..they don’t want to give up their perceived power.  What if we realized that a woman is not a sum of their size alone, that we are actually humans.  Does anyone remember that women are meant to have curves as they bring life into the world and their bodies need food as fuel to live and to give life.  Do men have the same opinion of their bodies that women have?  No… men think a beer belly is just wonderful and they parade it around – they are often proud of it, announcing to the world at large that it’s *all bought and paid for*, but as soon as a woman does this… people make comments, they snicker under their breath.  It’s a form of control and it affects us all.  Women aren’t the only ones that lose when they believe they must be thin to be loved.

Do women know that at one time women were considered very attractive when they were curvy?  Rubenesque… like the artist (Peter Paul Rubens) that painted women as they were meant to be, and they were very popular!

 

Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens

Do people realize or know that at one time women were the head of each household?  That they were revered?  Adored?  That women ran the house while men hunted and gathered? Women were considered goddesses… and loved.  Held high, with love.  Appreciated for their real worth and for being the bringers of life – as gods do.

We touched many lives on that night of the march… but did we touch enough?  Did others look around and see the strength, the courage to tell a story, to fight, to live a life even though you were victimized?  To be survivors?  To invite other women to fight beside them, as friends, as someone worthy of a dignified, healthy life?

Wouldn’t it be incredible if we never needed a 31st year of this march?

Rally and Randoms. Heh


Today was just a fun day for me.

I rode my bike and took pictures all over Toronto.  The fun began as soon as I left home!  Snicker!  Just as I was passing the bus stop here, a gaggle of women got off the bus and they ALL proceeded to open umbrellas.  Now I know that a lot of folks do that to protect themselves from the sun, but they just all did it, all at once.  Amused me!!!  Snap snap!  Of course, getting around them was another matter…. !

Umbrella Gaggle

Umbrella Gaggle


It started with a rally at Queen’s Park – against the G20… there was music but best of all – there were bubbles!!!  It was a *blow bubbles for peace* kind of event!  How I enjoyed that!   Let me tell you! lol  I just happen to have bubbles in my backpack!  lol  And I’m always looking for a reason to blow them!  Heh.  Some activist singers and some poetry written especially for the rally.  And a lot of smiles. 🙂

Oh, an umbrella themed day! lol

Oh, an umbrella themed day! lol

Gardens

Gardens

I really wanted a picture of the juicy bumblebee..but he kept flying off!  lol

A Bubble - Oh Yes!

A Bubble - Oh Yes!

Queen's Park - Quite an impressive old building

Queen's Park - Quite an impressive old building

G20 - Inquiry!

G20 - Inquiry!

I have mountains of pix…so I’ll move on to my next adventure. lol

The next item of interest that caught my eye was TWO police cars parked on BIKE lanes!!!  On opposite sides of the street – at the same time!  I could NOT believe my eyes!  And there were two officers just standing under a tree beside their car – bikers had to veer out into traffic to get around them!  Pfft…. can I arrest them???  Please?  lol

Dirty rotten coppers. lol  Parked ON the bike path, and standing under a tree watching bikers go around!

Dirty rotten coppers. lol Parked ON the bike path, and standing under a tree watching bikers go around!

From there I went to see if the Salad King was reopened.  Several months ago the wall fell off the building… it’s a fave eating place of my friend’s and mine… and I dare say, many many others.  Well, we were going to get together and eat there…but alas, there is no way. lol

Salad King

Salad King


Next on the menu…. was Front Street and Church Street… this is an historical building – the Flatiron building… and I love it!  My friend and I were discussing it recently – so I got some pix for her. 🙂

Front and Church

Front and Church - Flatiron Building

Flatiron building from the West

Flatiron building from the West

From here I meandered over to Eastern Ave… and got some pix of the Sun building… and some graffiti…. and then guess what?  Right back to the Distillery District…apparently I’m not done with them yet.  lol

CN Tower

CN Tower

Not sure why, but I love how this pic came out. 🙂  And the next one!  They don’t really show the district, but I love them best. 🙂

Watering Can. lol

Watering Can. lol

Oh, you thought I was done, didn’t you?  LOL  Oh no… next it was Sumach and Queen area… this is a building that has three apartments.  It’s almost on top of a busy highway…which you can see in the background.  If only the ad wasn’t there.. sure takes away from it.  🙂

Sumach and Queen area

Sumach and Queen area

And last, but not least…. to end the day with some pizzazz!  lol  Here was our night sky… makes you feel you are in a desert somewhere.  Just glorious!  All day the sun gave me some spectacular shots. 🙂

Exotic Skies.

Exotic Skies.


G20 Riots in Toronto.


Well, what is there to say about all this?

Too much, that’s what.

There’s a lot of info.  I’m going to need a coffee for this one!  Ok, coffee is brewing. 🙂

To start off with – the media.  They have published nonstop over the last month or so about the costs.  About the fences, and fake lakes, and cost of security, and number of security / police being brought in.  They have really helped in getting the public angry at the government.  Publishing the truth or not, you hear it everyday and you see people starving, homeless, treated unequally – and you start to wonder.  The government said there was no money to feed it’s own people, yet here we are – spending like money is no issue.

You have Toronto – homeless folks are being rounded up and hidden away in a newly built holding jail.  You have a new lake.  How much did this cost?  Why not spend that on our already troubled lakes?  Boarded up windows, and security.  77 new security cameras placed in the downtown core… where they were considering removing the already existing cameras.  Police presence is felt by all.  So now Toronto is becoming *tidy* and a police state.  Enough to put anyone on edge.  They remove garbage cans, bus booths, mail boxes.  They take down trees, old trees.  They build a fence around the area to be *protected*.

Then they tell us we can’t travel in certain areas of our own city.  We can’t use our cell phones in our city – they will be jammed.  If you go anywhere, make sure you have ID.  Don’t fly kites.  Don’t take pictures.  Reports of police smashing people’s cameras.  All main attractions are to be shut down.  The PATH is shut down.  That’s an under the city walkway.  It connects most of downtown through tunnels, with stores and such.

Everyone knows that a G20 is THE place to protest. Some folks say that they shouldn’t have held it here.  Why not?  We want free speech and freedom, liberty, all that… why can’t they come here?  Toronto WAS a peaceful place.  Saying they should have gone elsewhere is the same as telling us where we can or can’t protest.  So they tell the public that the only legal place they can rally is at Queen’s Park.  A rally is held at Allan Gardens instead on Friday, and it’s peaceful – as are all the rallies and marches here, normally.  The police are suddenly authorized to search you illegally.  We got to the rally and they were going through everyone’s bags – one woman I was with is a hair dresser, they took her hair cutting scissors… her livelihood.  They have the right to arrest you – without question and their word is law.  Yep – no questions asked, if you are arrested within these two days – the police don’t even have to defend their side.  You are wrong.  End of story.   They tell us that they can tear gas us, or pepper spray and that they have this sound, sonic boom thing.  They get marginal use – there are rules behind using it, but they can if need be.  You go on a peaceful march and the police surround you, put on riot gear and push forward into you.  Intimidation?  Do you think that people will just say, oh, ok…and go home?  In Canada we are allowed to gather and be heard.  It’s not illegal, well, it wasn’t until we got guests for dinner.

Riot Gear

Riot Gear

I’m going to go get my coffee, I’ll be right back.  Alright.  I’m ready.

So the next day, Saturday – you have the *legal* rally at the proper allocated location.  It’s advertised as a family gathering put on by local unions.  Great!  Terrific!  If the police behaved the way they did on Friday, then Saturday…well, I don’t need to say it.  It’s all over the news.  A splinter group goes off to wreak havoc.  This group is well known as anarchists – Black Bloc.  This group WAS in attendance on Friday.  They were marching beside me at one point and I overheard the police discussing them.  They marched in single file, all holding a piece of black cloth to hide behind, and they were dressed all in black, identities covered.  The police had them on Friday.  Maybe legally they couldn’t touch them on Friday, so they had to wait for something to happen first.   But you would think they’d have been ready for this?   Except that they were already given the power to arrest for no reason.

Black Blok

Black Bloc

This group breaks off from the main march (which had been described as a parade up to this point) and they begin destroying everything in their path.  They are clearly seen all over the news, smashing, breaking, jumping on things, throwing things.  Yes, they were violent.  No, I don’t think they are from Toronto.  People have traveled by the bus loads to get to Toronto for this G20 business.  It would appear that about this time mob mentality took over… and they got followers.  This went well into the night.  The roar died down at about 3 am, with 480 people jailed.  Perhaps it was the perfect forum for folks to finally display their anger at the treatment they’ve been receiving.

I strongly believe that if the government provided no welfare whatsoever, and left folks to die in the streets that there would be a massive social uproar.  Well, this IS the case.  They are starving their people.  People are homeless.  Massive unrest is the only thing that will get their attention and bring about change.  If folks sit quietly at home – hungry, alone – what change will occur?  None.  But if people rally together and fight for change, and get loud and strong enough, then change must come.  We vote those politicians in and then they starve their people and refuse to hear them.  They hold the G20 (top 30 folks, according to themselves) to decide our fates without hearing us.  Without a shred of decency.  All it comes down to is money.  Big corporations.   Bail out the big companies, but starve your peoples.  The very people that put you in office.

The police pushed for war here.  They did NOT do a good job.  They incited part of this.  Yes, these fellas came here with violence in their hearts and with malicious cause… to destroy or distract from the causes and issues we are all fighting for.  But I saw them.  I saw what really happened.  We had the police chief on tv saying that they never tear gassed and they never used rubber bullets.  But they did – it was caught on film and rubber bullets found in the road.  He later admitted to the tear gas.  This is a new age, Mr. Blair…we have cameras on all our phones.   The media coverage was extensive.  How are you hiding the truth?   Now you are just a liar.  And Mr. Blair?  How can they be heading NORTH on Queen????  Do you even know what city you are in?  lol

Two police cars set on fire.  Why were they there in the first place – parked in the middle of the street for no apparent reason.  Unattended.  And who set the fires?  After seeing the behavior of the police I certainly see this as a valid question.

You get news coverage, the likes of Gord Martineau.  He interviewed John Clarke of OCAP.  Well, if you can call it that, but what he really did was attempt to bully and trample Mr. Clarke.  He wouldn’t let him finish a sentence, and interrupted him in such a way that anyone else would have thumped him a good one.  Then at the end of the so called interview, his eyes glazed over and with a disdainful and insincere look he thanked Mr. Clarke for his time.   He did not, for one second, really want to hear what John Clarke had to say….he was there to pick a fight and place blame.  Thankfully Mr. Clarke is no sissy, held his ground and even managed to get a word in edgewise.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO

Questions:  Has this given Toronto a black eye?  Was the violence too extreme?  I think people understand that the initial rioters were not from here… that normally Toronto is known for its peace.  I also think that the anger and violence was taken out on the wrong people… shop owners.  They are just trying to make a living.  They lashed out at the small guys… when it’s big corps that needed to feel the heat of their angst.  And was it really their cause?  If the citizens here did that you could say it was to get attention for their issues, and that they had finally had enough… but it wasn’t…so were they here simply to riot?  On one hand I’m glad they did it… something has to be done, and it has to be drastic for the *higher* ups to take notice.  Obviously they aren’t listening…

In the same breath… would anyone have listened if this hadn’t happened?   Has this overridden any of the voices that should have been heard.  Distracted attention as I believe it was meant to do?  I suppose time will tell.  Let’s not forget, there’s still today – and they plan to *attack* again.  Insofar as all this is concerned…why don’t the top 30 just Skype like everyone else? lol

Ah, finished just in time.  That was a great coffee!

June 25th Rally and March!


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.

Women and Maternity Rights Women and Maternity Rights
Women and Maternity Rights

This guy had a body attached to his behind.. with the head vanishing up the..ahem.

This guy had a body attached to his behind.. with the head vanishing up the..ahem.

Drummers

Drummers

All Sort of Music

All Sort of Music

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.

John Clarke, OCAP
John Clarke, OCAP

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.

The March

The March

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.

Black Group - Hidden Identities

Black Group - Hidden Identities


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.

Police PUSHING Protesters Forward
Police PUSHING Protesters Forward


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.

Police at the Rear

Police at the Rear


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. 😦


Get Off the Fence


~~~  Ha ha, I was going to go to this but realized how tired I am. lol  Taking an easy day…. raining and I’m beat!  Good day to stay in and watch movies. lol

Get Off the Fence

06/26/2010 13:00
Canada/Eastern

GET OFF THE FENCE
Confrontational Anti-Colonial, Anti-Capitalist
Convergence in solidarity with the
People’s First Demonstration
26 June 2010, 1pm, Queen’s Park
And then onwards to the Fence

Working class people across Canada are under attack. From the foot-dragging at Vale Inco to the recent lock-out of Cadillac-Fairview workers to the looming cut backs on the public sector, it has become obvious that the municipal, provincial and federal governments are neither willing nor able to support people.

Corporations get bailed out, while people and the environment pay for their crisis. Global financial and environmental decisions are made by a few self-selected men and women at the G8 and G20 summits and forced down the throat of unionized and non-unionized workers the world over. Resisting unionists in the Philippines and Colombia are brutally murdered while migrant workers are killed on the job in Canada working in precarious conditions.

When this traveling circus comes to Toronto this June, we who work for change will gather to oppose them. We are workers, activists, students, parents, artists, unionists, anarchists with and without immigration status and more. We are the people — and we will not remain silent and passive as the elites celebrate their attacks on our lives and on the lives of people around the world.

On Saturday, June 26th, the People First March begins at 1pm at Queen’s Park. We are calling upon labour activists, migrants, community groups, poor and working people, women, queer folk, disAbled communities and others to join the Get of the Fence contingent as we creatively and energetically voice our discontent and stand in solidarity with labour struggle.

However, when the People’s First demonstration circles back to a so-called a ‘free-speech zone’ at the park’s north end, we will stay put. We call upon all organizations of people, all those that struggle for justice to stay and participate in a militant, confrontational demonstration where we challenge the global apartheid and injustices the fence represents.

On June 26th, when the march turns towards the protest pen, we invite you to go beyond the tired symbolism of parades and beyond the will of politicians. When the People First march turns back, we invite you all to continue on with us to confront the self-proclaimed G20 leaders and the security apparatus that will have occupied our city. We will take back our city from these exploitative profiteers, and in the streets we will be uncontrollable! This is a militant march where many forms of
resistance and tactics are welcomed and respected.

Discuss this in your locals, in your organizations, with your friends and families. In your workplaces, in your meeting rooms, at the dinner table, plan to get off the fence and commit to taking the streets. Together, we will reject the authority of the G20.

For more information, contact torontospokes@ecologyfund.net


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