New Toronto group gathers and marches outside City Hall to oppose extremism

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Members of a newly formed group gathered and marched outside Toronto City Hall on Sunday to show their opposition to extremism and support for Ottawa residents.

Community Solidarity Toronto, a coalition of labour, anti-racism and social organizations, said its rally and march were intended to be non-confrontational. The coalition says it is inspired by and named after Community Solidarity Ottawa, a group of anti-convoy protesters.

On Facebook, the coalition said Ottawa neighborhoods “have been subjected to nearly three weeks of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and homophobic harassment, bullying and bullying” and that residents “have had to live with the noise and toxic fumes of diesel engines and the horns of trucks.”

The coalition said: “We are marching to make sure this doesn’t happen on the streets and neighborhoods of Toronto.”

Philip Berger, a coalition member and doctor who helped organize a counter-protest in Toronto two weeks ago, said healthcare workers had been subjected to what he calls racist, misogynistic attacks and homophobic simply for vaccinating and speaking out in favor of public health measures.

Berger said the coalition wanted to show support for the work healthcare workers are doing.

The coalition, however, also opposes “racism, the right-wing takeover of the country, the people occupying our capital, the government’s failure to deal with blockades across the country, the occupation of Ottawa,” he said.

“We are also here because some parliamentarians who encouraged this occupation hailed the occupiers who betrayed our country as heroes, which they are not.”

On Sunday, members of Community Solidarity Toronto held a rally and march in front of Toronto City Hall. (Radio Canada)

Berger said he doesn’t believe what happened in Ottawa will happen in Toronto, saying “the police are incredibly well prepared, they have good intelligence, and if it happened here the community would rise up very quickly and push them back when they’re finally done in Ottawa.

On Saturday, Ottawa police recaptured parts of downtown from protesters against vaccination mandates. Officers including members of the Ontario Provincial Police, Sûreté du Québec, Toronto Public Order Unit and Ontario’s Durham Region participated in Saturday’s operation.

Yolanda B’Dacy, executive member of the Toronto York Regional Labor Council and executive member of Local 12 of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, said Sunday’s rally in Toronto was very important.

“There has been a lot of negative talk from people who have spread hatred in our nation’s capital and in our city,” B’Dacy said.

“I wanted to come and say that the majority of people, the majority of workers and members of the community support and support health care workers.”

B’Dacy said the views expressed by convoy protesters do not represent the views of most Canadians, saying the COVID-19 vaccine mandates are not designed to suppress freedoms.

“They’re there to make sure everyone stays safe,” she said.

“These protests were supposed to be about warrants, but they were really about things like racism, hate, misogyny, anti-Indigenous hate. I feel like there are rich people in this country and in the United States doing this to support the far right and the racist right wing movement.”

Union leaders join the march

The Ontario Federation of Labor (OFL), which represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario, says its leaders participated in Sunday’s march.

“All who stood up to the convoy and confronted its hateful rhetoric demonstrated what is possible when a community comes together and stands up for love, not hate, and solidarity, not division,” said the president of OFL, Patty Coates, in a press release. .

“At the Ontario Federation of Labor, we are committed to fighting the hatred and division fueled by the convoy while delivering a hopeful and optimistic vision for a better Ontario.

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