Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 15: Occupy Toronto

Ariana, Jenny, and I went to check out Occupy Toronto on October 15th. We're avid of memes and phenomena related to the Internet, so the thought of witnessing an Occupy in the flesh was exciting. We read stories on Occupy Wallstreet and wondered how such an event would be like in Toronto.

The morning of Occupy Toronto--Day 1It was cold in the morning, but it didn't stop people from showing up. There weren't as many people as I expected at Occupy Toronto--I was hoping for a whole two blocks of people (my expectations were high). The weird thing I noticed was that most of the occupy folks were on one side of the street--which can be seen in the attached photo above--while many photographers and the one guy yelling "bull shit" were on the other.

The roads on the block were off limits to the occupiers to let traffic run for awhile in the morning, but then it was closed for the occupiers to move around at around 11 AM. People started selling newspapers and subscriptions and giving out fliers. The newspapers and subscriptions had information on Occupy, but much of the information from the fliers covered topics from corporate greed to animal abuse and wages to missing persons. The purpose of Occupy Toronto started to get confusing when someone took out a megaphone and proceeded to talk about how his sister suffered a life of hardship and died working in an environment where she was mistreated. I understand how people may want to take advantage of the Occupy movement to pass out fliers, but the person's story on his sister didn't seem to match with the Occupy movement in New York. We later figured that the Occupy movement in Toronto was going to be different from the one in New York.

After having brunch, we walked to St. James Park where the occupiers were setting up camp. I was in awe when I experienced the human microphone: it was impressive when the message got across the crowd of people. Signs were everywhere around the park, and they covered as many topics as the morning fliers did. I could understand how all the things people were protesting about are related, but I wasn't sure if they could explain what the whole Occupy Toronto was about. Heck, not even I could explain it in a short 1-minute speech at the time. If I tried, I'd probably have the bull shit guy on my case. Maybe that one line, "it's about social and economic inequality," would do.

I'm late with this blog entry, but I hope that the occupiers are doing fine right now. The weather's getting cold, and winter is approaching.

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