'Occupy' protesters will repeat actions tomorrow
Published Monday, October 17, 2011 10:14PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 6:17AM EDT
Organizers of the Occupy Toronto movement say they will continue to demonstrate and impede traffic.
About 100 people taking part in the Occupy Toronto protest sat down at the intersection of Yonge and Dundas during the evening rush, blocking traffic for about a half an hour.
Before moving on at around 6:30 p.m., the group formed themselves into a 99 per cent sign, to signify the movement's stand that 99 per cent of the population suffer economically.
Most of the protesters headed back to St. James Park which has been their home base throughout the three-day protest.
The crowd arrived at Yonge and Dundas after protesting at the city's financial district for the second time today, just as Bay Street employees were to pack up for the day and head home.
However, the demonstration at Bay and King Streets didn't last long. About 15 minutes after shutting down the intersection the group of protesters headed north on Bay, east on Queen and then north on Yonge Street towards Yonge and Dundas.
Demonstrators headed to Bay Street after an afternoon meeting at St. James Park at King and Jarvis Streets Monday afternoon for their daily "general assembly." Protesters use the assembly to share their ideas for the next steps of the Occupy Toronto movement.
Protesters taking part in the assembly told CP24 say they have a lot of steam left in them after a third day of demonstrations.
Participant Anne Hurd told CP24 that a request was made for more blankets to help keep the crowd warm as they spend night after night at the park.
Rally focused on jobs
The protesters said they have no plans of going home.
Earlier in the day, up to 300 demonstrators took part in a student-organized rally at Ryerson University during the school's social justice week, as they continue to speak out against corporate greed and social inequality, the primary themes of the global movement that began in New York City a month ago.
The on-campus rally at Victoria and Gould streets focused on issues such as jobs, student debt and high tuition fees.
Upon the Occupy Toronto group's return to St. James Park, where a core group has been gathered since Saturday, the protesters caused some traffic delays for motorists in part of downtown Toronto.
The group held up traffic as it marched south on Yonge Street to Adelaide Street, and then east along Adelaide to St. James Park.
On their way to and from the rally, protesters waved signs and chanted "Off of the sidewalk, into the streets" and other messages under a police escort.
Click here to view a photo gallery of the Occupy Toronto movement.
Protest staged outside TSX
Earlier Monday, about 30 protesters, representing a splinter group dubbed Occupy Bay Street, demonstrated peacefully outside the TSX as the campaign moved into the Financial District on the first day of trading since local protests began Saturday.
Protesters waved signs and chanted messages as Bay Street professionals filed into office towers in the heart of Canada's financial centre. People didn't seem to be bothered by the protesters and business carried on as usual.
Members of the offshoot group were planning to gather at King Street and University Avenue at 7 a.m. before marching to the TSX, but only two people showed up. Dozens more joined the pair in the Financial District.
Despite the tiny gathering at King and University, the organizer said he was happy with the turnout.
"This is two times better than what I expected," the man said during a brief interview with CP24 before he and the second person walked away. "It's quite amazing that another person showed up."
Group plans to occupy park 'indefinitely'
Members of the original Occupy Toronto group seemed to distance themselves from the offshoot group.
Jared Khan, a volunteer with Occupy Toronto's media team which updates the movement's website, Facebook pages and Twitter account, said the protesters are working hard to grow their ranks.
"We are still trying to inform people to come down and add to our large numbers," he said. "It's about people going to work on Monday, that was a chief concern for police. We are looking to just remain occupied in this park."
Khan said the group planned to occupy the downtown park it was camped in "indefinitely" and was prepared for the approaching colder weather.
Protests across Canada
Peaceful "Occupy" protests were held across Canada over the weekend, continuing the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York City a month ago.
Thousands of demonstrators are protesting corporate greed and what they say is a growing gap between the wealthy and everyone else.
In Toronto, the demonstration began with a march through the Financial District to St. James Park, where about 200 protesters are camped out.
The group has had to contend with some of the coldest nights of the season, just three days into their campaign.
The temperature dipped to 6 C early Monday as dozens of people slept in tents in a camp set up with bathrooms, a kitchen and library.
With a report from CP24's Cam Woolley, George Lagogianes, Nathan Downer and Farah Nasser, and The Canadian Press