Opening Statement



Monday, 21 November 2016

Toronto Protest: Love Trumps Hate!


On Saturday, over a thousand protesters marched from Toronto City Hall to the Trump Hotel Tower at Bay Street and Adelaide. From the get-go, the Rally Against Trump message was loud and clear -Canada is an inclusive and tolerant country. President Elected Donald Trump's politics of bigotry and division are not welcome here! 

This was the second Toronto Trump Protest within the last week. Despite the cold rain, strong winds and falling temperatures, the number of marchers continues to gather momentum since the smaller but equally steadfast march last Sunday.

For Saturday's Rally Against Trump, I volunteered as a marshal. I wasn't involved with the organizing committee for the rally. That consisted of members from various, active, Canadian environmental, social justice, civil liberty, and heritage groups, including reps from our marginalized POC [People of Colour] and LGBTQ [Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Trans + Queer] communities. [1]

As a marshal, our job was simply to direct marchers along the route and to monitor the situation for safety reasons. We each wore a vest, a bandanna and carried a "Love Trumps Hate" hand sign to help the protesters along their way. 




The Rally Against Trump began at noon with a number of short, but rousing speeches. Provincial NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo [2] spoke, as did retired union leader Sid Ryan. Others speakers were from the Ryerson Muslim Student Association, Fightback and our cities LGBTQ.

The short parade route ended in front of the Trump, "big brand" hotel tower on Bay St. at Adelaide. The police escort fanned out across the busy, main entrance way. Traffic was stopped until 4 pm. 

Bay and Adelaide were packed tight. The huge crowd came together in a very high spirited, protest chant. Our voices echoed off the seemingly impenetrable glass and steel highrise towers. Outward from Toronto's Skyscraper National Park, the deep, dark depths of Canada's Bay Street financial district. 

Loudly, we denounced a wide variety of Trump's unwelcome "hot button" and "wedge" issues in no uncertain terms. They included sexism, misogyny, Islamaphobia, homophobia, and transphobia. BLM [Black Lives Matter] received support, as did Greenpeace's environment concerns.



We expressed our deep, heartfelt, social justice concerns, as Canadian citizens exercising our right to free speech and assembly. The protest message? Simply put, we just don't want anybody to get confused and think that Trump's bigotry is okay here

Everyone I saw and talked to tried to stay very positive. To remember that Love Trumps Hate!

Unfortunately, there were a few small, but very persistent groups of agitators whom repeatedly attempted to disrupt our peaceful assembly, as a part of their "counter-protest" in support of Donald Trump. 

During the city hall speeches, a handful of operatives in red "Make America Great Again" caps dispersed through the crowd trying to target individuals and pick arguments with them. To her credit, Cheri DiNovo intervened on one occasion to help lead some of the more vulnerable Rally Against Trump protesters quickly away to safety.

On another occasion, a small group of Christian extremists on the sidewalk south of city hall were badgering the crowd, many of whom they claimed face eternal damnation because of their religious, political, and sexual orientation or beliefs. Our marginalized and stigmatized marchers quickly became very upset and vocal. Police formed a barrier, as tensions grew. A fist fight erupted over a sign. It was contained. An arrest was made. A small and localized incident, but one for the courts to sort out!



Trump Supporters: Note "Rebel" Reporter Faith Goldy in Leafs Cap. See below @ [4]

I'm not sure if he was from the same group, but an angry man with a megaphone continued to harangue the marchers with more bizarre "god talk" as he later followed up the rear of the march in his car. 

Later, Trump "news reporters" tried to trick individual protesters into supposed "interviews" across from the Trump hotel. As if on cue, other Trump supporters would suddenly emerge from the crowd. Encircle them. Eagerly join in a twisted act of verbal masturbation, angrily bullying the trapped protesters over their views.

Very few folks got riled up, sucked in or fooled by the Trump supporter's nefarious trickery. Despite these small but distrubing incidents, overwhelmingly the protest remained extremely positive.

As marshals, we monitored the situation as per our instructions. Reminded everybody that each of us has the right to speak out. Or to remain silent, if we are challenged inappropriately. But mostly, just pointed folks along the protest route.



Any public concern over the Rally Against Trump shouldn't be directed at the protesters. Far from it! It was a very successful, peaceful, and well organized event! 

However, the Trump supporters' "counter protest" certainly warrants further police investigation. Our own Toronto protest security procedures will also need to change with the circumstances as we move forward. [3]

As for the Toronto Police presence, there is a video kicking around of one officer quietly mouthing the words during the BLM chant to himself. As the rally wrapped up, he informally acknowledged our marshal "Love Trumps Hate" signs to us, in a friendly, positive and disarming manner


From what I've seen, the Rally Against Trump protesters are a very inclusive and tolerant cross section of the everyday citizen's living in Canada today. We just want to peacefully express our rejection of bigotry and hate.  

This small outreach was appreciated by many of us whom saw him at the Rally Against Trump on Saturday. The officer seemed very genuine and sincere. It was only a small gesture by a single policeman. Still, whenever anybody on the barricades in the good fight "gets it right" -that's great! 

Maybe there's hope for the world yet!

In solidarity!

David C

FOOTNOTES

[1] = Please note that the views expressed in my blog are not offical. You will find a link to the Rally Against Trump group organizers below.

[2] = Cheri DiNovo and I talked briefly. Alas. She confirmed that she will not be running for the Federal NDP leadership for health reasons. Also, she'll be stepping down as an MPP once she completes her current term.

[3] = Don't be too surprised when we get attacked in the news for the rallies! Regretfully, negative mainstream media coverage of the Trump Toronto Protests once against continues to miss the mark, in it's misguided effort to falsefy, manufacture dissent and delegitimize our local efforts. I will soon provide links to examine these at greater length in my Teacher Free Speech November News + Views. The link is below.

[4] In my photo you can see Pro Trump "Rebel" reporter Faith Goldy with the Christian extremists before the arrest. Where we Trumped? "Punk'd"? Set Up? Tricked? Fooled? Watch her video report on the incident "Toronto Trump Supporters Attacked at Anti-Trump Rally", and decide for yourself @  Youtube More in the Toronto News section @ HERE!



LINKS

Rally Against Trump @ Facebook

Teacher Free Speech November News + Views @ Here!

Come to The Trump Toronto Protest @ Here!

On the November 12th Toronto Trump Protest @ There!


Marshall's point the way! 

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