Day 3 Dundas Square After getting home from work I got word through OccupyTO's twitter that their march had taken and occupied Dundas Square - being two blocks away I grabbed my camera and headed down to beginning of Day 3 of my coverage.
When I arrived the group had seated in the middle of the intersection of Dundas and Yonge.
By doing this they were intending on protesting the way the local transit system, the TTC, had discontinued stopping at St. James park due to the movement occupying it. It also drew a lot of criticism from the citizens of Toronto as most were frustrated that they were interrupting the busiest intersection in the city during rush hour.
While there they formed "99%" in the intersection. They did this to attract the attention of the media helicopters flying above. It worked, shortly after you could see the live broadcast being aired on the screen on the CityTV building nearby. Again, one of the movements biggest goals is to attract attention of the media to spread their message.
Arriving back at the park I instantly noticed the amount of new tents that had been constructed. It really made me realize how quickly the community was building.
Pictured here is the library at night. Notice how many more books had been added since the day before...
All day the 'kitchen' is offering free food donated from different places. Local restaurants continuesly donate food and offer anything they could not sell, market vendors provide essentials such as fruits, vegetables, and bread and water is purchased through the donations given.
Although the vibe of St. James park is generally positive, productive, and uplifting there is still the looming feeling knowing that you're at an illegal camp. This sign reads "DO NOT WORRY - if the police tell us to move we will receive WARNING! - The City of Toronto will make this decision!! Tell your counsellors to let us stay"
More photos from the night...
DAY 4 To continue my coverage of OccupyTO I decided to head down to St. James park to catch the evenings General Assembly.
As mentioned before, the General Assembly is a public meeting to discuss issues, decisions, updates, and general suggestions towards the movement. This GA was the smallest I had been to (100-200 people) so it was a lot more personal and therefore more passionate. People were continuously raising concerns (forming an x with your arms shows you completely disagree and forming a triangle with your hands shows you have a suggestion) so the meeting ran more than three hours.
Some things discussed were...
- Actions towards unionizing with the TTC strike on Saturday in hopes to increase the movements support. This was particularly inspiring as the union going on strike are striking for the exact things the Occupy Movement stands for. - Creating a committee in charge of reaching out to local known people for support. This led into asking for rides for people to head to a speech Naomi Klein was speaking at in order to ask her to speak on Saturdays march. - Cleanliness in the park - specifically addressed towards two beer cans found. - Discussion on how to best address the media to give a response better supported by the movement as a whole. Also, that there will be a seminar discussing public relations. - Etc.
The GA ended with a long debate on when to leave for their planned march to Dundas Square.
The March To Dundas Square The march started off powerfully with someone yelling "Let's take the streets" and the crowd of 60-100 people began marching towards Dundas Square. Although it started powerfully it quickly became confused and I couldn't help but feel embarrassed for the marchers.
The group had to stop on numerous occasions in order for the back half of the group to catch up and everyone had to be reminded to slow down and take their time. Although there was a lack of leadership in the march people were still passionate about it and chanted the usual slogans such as "we are the 99%" and "the people united will never be defeated"
When the group arrived at Dundas Square they were indecisive on what they wanted to do. A few people wanted to stand in the square and a few wanted to occupy the intersection of Yonge & Dundas. The group ended up standing where they were and doing a sort of native pow-wow like dance.
Thanks again for reading! I didn't get out shooting tonight (with working 40+ hours a week I needed to take time and catch up on personal things) but I plan on shooting the park in the rain tomorrow night. Also, Saturday is a huge march so expect photos of that - Expect another post on Sunday, probably.
Also, thanks SO much for the amount of responses I've already received!