Stop the Cuts Rally: A View from No-Mans Land
Over 1 thousand civil rights activists and concerned citizens of Toronto and the GTA showed up at City Hall to show their disapproval of the proposed 2012 budget cuts. The rally was made up of a broad range of individuals from Etobicoke, Jane and Finch, and the downtown core. There were children, students, business professional, unions, and seniors all uniting for the same purpose; to show Ford that his cuts which threaten to further disadvantage those most vulnerable would not be tolerated. After City Hall shut down access to the City Council Chambers due to it being “over-capacity” despite councillors tweeting that there were empty seats, it was suggested that the rally be taken inside to view the meeting on the big screens.
When citizens reached the doors of City Hall, they were greeted by a line-up of police who would not grant them entrance into the building. I myself was trapped inside, caught between the two main doors with many other people with no way in or out. The main entrance was limbo for those who had been inside, some who had just left the meeting to go home. Those trapped inside began to cheer for those on the other side of the barriers, chanting “Let them in, Kick Ford Out.”
What we saw from the unobstructed view from No-Man’s land was police pulling protestors over barricades, dragging them out from under the crowd, arresting individuals from inside the main doors who were chanting “Let Them In.” Police were seen to use excessive force on individuals who showed no sign of resisting or using force against the officers. One individual who was arrested, Derek Soberall, was tackled by police while trying to recover his camera which another officer had knocked out of his hands. The pandemonium and tension was rising as 9 people were taken away for detaining and/or arrest.
The video footage captured is unedited and raw. It speaks for itself.
Footage from Inside and Outside the yellow line. Also, a video showing Media Wrench member Nick Williams being treated by the EMS for pepperspray as he was photographing the event.
Reported by Anna
All video footage and photography by Anna and Roberto Horta.