Occupy Toronto

OccupyTO - Day 2 Inspired by New York cities Occupy Wall Street, the occupy movement has spread around the world and I've put myself as close to the action as I can. On Saturday, October 15th the people of Toronto took to the streets to voice their concerns and I was, and continue, to be there with them and my camera.

I find the topic of Occupy Toronto to be a sensitive one. Depending on who you talk to you'll either hear a rant of sincere support or a rant of complaints that 'those hippies need to get jobs'. Personally I'm more interested in the movement itself - the way one message can grow from a small group in New York City to a movement that has spread around the world and is taking serious action. I also believe in most their overall message, I just believe they still need to make it more clear with a solid and simple message.

What is the Occupy Movement? In simple: It's a movement to send a message to the financial institutions and remind them that they are there to serve us - that their attention needs to be drawn to the people (the 99%) and not the elite (the 1%) who are making the majority of the income.

In full, I'll take it straight from OccupyTO's website:

"Occupy Toronto is a movement that intends to show our solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movements and stand in unity with the rest of the world to seek and work towards drastic changes to economic systems that are destroying our economy, social liberties, and environment. We are, through entirely non-violent means, sending a message to the financial sector worldwide that banks exist to serve us, not the other way around, that the practices of speculation and fractional reserve lending have created a massive inequality and are no longer valid systems.

Current monetary policies, whether they are enacted under the idea of globalization and privatization, or some other guise, are unacceptably hurting the people that have propped them up, the very people they were created to help. Our target is to change these systems to help the 99% of the population, instead of just the elite 1% that they currently benefit. Everyone is encouraged to join the movement, this movement affects us all."

Basically, the rich need to stop getting more rich and the poor need to stop getting more poor.

Please visit OccupyTO's website for more information: http://occupyto.org/

From here on in I'll attempt to stick to a photo-essay style of post. This post will be updated every few days as I continue to cover the movement in Toronto. Enjoy.

Day 1 & Day 2

Part of OccupyTO was to take over St. James Park as their home and a place for all of the activist to come together, share ideas, organize, and do whatever it takes to make the movement stronger.

Make-shift buildings act as different places for organizing...

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 2

People have set up a 'tent city' to maintain occupancy over the park...

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 1

A library has been set up to provide educational readings on legal rights and information on protests and other movements...

OccupyTO - Day 2

In the park they provide many services to provide a healthy living for the people staying. Through donations they have been able to provide a medic tent, free food vendors, meditation seminars, women only sleeping areas, 24/7 security patrol, etc...

OccupyTO - Day 1

Social media has an extremely important role in the movements process. In order to grow the word needs to be spread. Pictured here is the 'media centre' where people are providing live feed and updates 24/7.

OccupyTO - Day 2

During one of the many marches through the city the protesters stood in front of the CityTV building and yelled to be aired. The station did...

OccupyTO - Day 2

It's not a protest without signs...

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 2

And people...

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 2

Drum circles are very popular at these kind of events...

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 2

Every day they hold general assemblies where large groups of people gather in the park to discuss the day, make decisions, and decide what their next actions are going to be. The assemblies are very powerful as they use the 'people's mic' system to get the audio across - to do this one person will yell something and the crowd will echo it back yelling it out in sections.

OccupyTO - Day 1

OccupyTO - Day 1

The police have been extremely kind, respectful, and so far have gained the respect of the protestors. I believe this is strongly based on all the mistakes they made during the G20 summit last year. Although there is fear of a raid at the park any moment, so far they have not been a problem. Saying that, there was obviously still a police presence...

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 2

OccupyTO - Day 1

Although the vibe is mostly positive the sound of helicopters circling reminds you of where you are and why you are there...

OccupyTO - Day 1

I will be updating this as days progress. So far I have managed to be there every day and am still getting plenty of interesting photos. Until then I encourage you to educate yourself on the movement. And, to those people thinking "screw those hippies" I say this...

What if people didn't stand up for what they believe?