Toronto Eaton Centre placed on lockdown after anti-fur protesters storm mall
Shoppers at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre were forced to spend a bit more time at the mall than they might have liked to on Sunday when, just before closing, security guards placed the entire venue on lockdown — meaning that no one could get in or out.
The reason? Animal rights activists were wilin' out in protest against the use of fur.
Toronto Police say that mall security decided to lock down the Eaton Centre around 7 p.m. last night in response to a "large number of protesters" inside.
"We are on scene to keep the peace," wrote TPS Operations in an update on Twitter around 7:30. "No injuries, no damage."
Info:— Toronto Police Operations (@TPSOperations) August 18, 2019
Toronto Eaton Centre
-large number of protesters in the mall
-mall security have placed the mall in lock down
- no injuries, no damage
-we are OS to keep the peace#GO1572990^adc
Dozens, if not more than 100 protesters carrying megaphones, anti-fur signage and what appeared to be replicas of large, skinned animals could be seen (and heard) rallying near the mall's Queen Street entrance around 7 p.m.
"Their fur!" shouted someone on a megaphone, to which the group replied. "Not ours!"
"Their babies!" continued the protest leader. "Their Lives!"
"Not ours!" screamed the group in unison after each statement.
Police managed to corral the protest group into the skywalk bridge that runs over Queen Street, connecting the Eaton Centre to Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson's Bay, not long after the demonstration began.
Witnesses say that supporters and observers were chanting "Set them free! Set them free!" while the activists were held inside the tunnel.
BANFUR pic.twitter.com/FVmF2N9kvb— Jonathan Goldsbie (@goldsbie) August 18, 2019
Police released the activists after about 30 minutes, according to animal rights activist Len Goldberg.
"Eaton Centre security just locked we anti-fur activists into the Queen Street tunnel for half an hour, after we attempted to enter and do a speech inside the Centre, advocating for a ban on the sale of fur in Toronto," he wrote by Facebook Messenger.
"Police then appeared and blew whistles into our ears and hit and shoved activists. Hundreds and hundreds of shoppers were mobbed around the spectacle inside the Eaton Centre, cheering."
That's four officers atop one lanky dude who is very likely vegan: pic.twitter.com/KYhaS579W3— Jonathan Goldsbie (@goldsbie) August 18, 2019
The protest appears to have been organized as part of the Animal Liberation Toronto Conference at U of T, which wraps on Monday evening.
"Meet in NF-003 for the briefing at 6pm. We will travel as a group to the location of our disruption and demonstration where we will speak out for animals used in the fur industry," reads a description of the event on the official conference schedule.
"This action is part of two campaigns - one to ban the sale of fur in Toronto, and the other is a corporate pressure campaign against Canada Goose."
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