In September 2011, a Canadian non profit organization known as the “adbusters” proposed a peaceful protest and occupancy of a major park near the financial hub of North America, Wall Street (Hiltz 2011). The purpose of this gathering and subsequently occupancy was to express their displeasure and oppose an array of issues such as social inequality, excessive involvements of corporations in politics, lack of jobs, and most importantly, equal distribution of wealth. Momentously, this movement rapidly spread around the globe and on October 15, 2011, the “day of action”, Toronto occupy movement held the first protest at the financial hub of Canada, Bay Street.
The participants of the movement include but are not limited to students, unemployed, citizens of all ethnic backgrounds, seniors fighting for better pensions, members of different NGO’s and non profit organizations and lastly, different unions who are providing majority of the funds for these protests and ensuring the movement continues (Taylor, Black, Kennedy 2011). Although, the movement held its first protests near Bay Street, due to consistent pressure by the law enforcement agencies, the movement moved to St. James Park where it planted the flags and started organizing their camps so they would appear strong as a movement for them to fight for the causes they had all gathered for. The occupy movement in Toronto made their agenda visible from the very beginning. According to the spokespersons, there were three main reasons for their occupancy. First, is corporate lobbying. They believe that lobbyists are representing the agenda of corporations who have a big impact on government policies. Second, they believe the government should be taxing the “upper class” more and criticize the salary rates for CEO’s. Lastly, they are fighting for better social policies (Poisson 2011).
This movement was inspired by the movements in Middle East where the use of social Media played a key factor in efficient and quick gathering. Facebook was the main portal through which messages and pages were created so the organizers can share the important information and vision of the movement. The aim of the organizers was to organize and action a peaceful protest, however, aggression along with police misconduct led to several unlawful arrests and in some cases, arrests that brutally injured peaceful protesters (Maldonado 2012).
This blog provided an overview of the ongoing protests of the occupy movements, the organizers involved, the agenda being presented, the gatherings, and most importantly, the mistreatment of protesters by the law enforcement. Despite peaceful protests, law enforcement authorities handed out eviction notices and advised the protesters to not only obey the notices, but to refrain from further occupancy of any part of the city (O’Toole 2011a). However, To commemorate the one year anniversary of the occupy movement, several hundred protesters gathered at St. James Park to not only remember the movement but to spark a revival as the issues that were once protesting about still have not been solved (Jeffords 2012).
Hiltz, Robert. 2011. “Occupy Wall Street coming home to Canada; Origin of protest movement was Vancouver-based magazine” The Ottawa Citizen, October 15 . Retrieved October 27, 2012 (http://search.proquest.com/cbcacurrent/docview/898659354/13A387DC6B5353A059C/4?accountid=15182)
Jeffords, Shawn.2012. “Occupy Toronto protestors mark one-year anniversary” Toronto Sun, October 15 . Retrieved October 30, 2012 (http://www.torontosun.com/2012/10/15/occupy-toronto-protesters-mark-one-year-anniversary)
Maldonado, Melinda.2012. “Occupy Toronto protests police watchdog clearing officer who punched woman” The Canadian Press, July 10 . Retrieved October 30, 2012 (http://search.proquest.com/cbcacurrent/docview/1024669422/13A3898CD0E64FB052B/5?accountid=15182)
O’ Toole, Megan.2011. “Occupy Toronto protestors receive eviction notices” Postmedia News, November 15 . Retrieved October 29, 2012 (http://search.proquest.com/cbcacurrent/docview/904441882/13A387537766E3FED46/11?accountid=15182)
Poisson, Jayme. 2011. “Inside Occupy Toronto: Imitation or revolution?” The Toronto Star, October 15 . Retrieved October 29, 2012 (http://search.proquest.com/cbcacurrent/docview/898411739/13A38951E05146E544E/3?accountid=15182)
Taylor, Ciarula., Black, Debra and Kennedy, Brendan. 2011 “ Occupy Toronto’s encampment ends peacefully” The Toronto Star, November 23 . Retrieved October 27, 2012 (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1091188–occupy-toronto-s-encampment-ends-peacefully)