toronto protest

Abolish the Police protest and teach-in takes over Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto

A rally and teach-in to take steps toward abolishing Toronto Police was held at Nathan Phillips Square today, on Global Pride Day.

Afr0-Indigenous Rising (AIR) has been occupying the Square for days now, and the No Pride in Policing Coalition joined them there today to host the event.

toronto protest

The rally aims to bring attention to NPPC's demand for an immediate 50 per cent cut to the Toronto Police Services budget, which is currently over $1 billion.

toronto protest

The peaceful demonstration consisted of a large but socially distanced crowd taking up space in the area near City Hall and listening to a number of speakers, including Desmond Cole, Zoe Dodd, Robyn Maynard, Monica Forrester and many more.

toronto protest

Pam Palmater, an Indigenous lawyer, professor and advocate stated passionately that we need to defund our own oppression, asking that the police budget be reallocated to things like resources for Indigenous communities.

toronto protest

There were also a performances from Sydanie and the Eagle Woman Singerz and Jingle Dancers toward the end of the demonstration.

toronto protest

At one point, the crowd chanted "Here for Dafonte" in response to the recent verdict announced in the case where an off duty police officer and his brother were accused of beating Dafonte Miller.

As part of the "teach-in" aspect of the event, chalk was available so that attendees could write down notes on the concrete of the Square.

toronto protest

The entire rally was live-streamed on Facebook, and some speakers called in on Zoom to give their talks.

toronto protest

The entire event was also interpreted through ASL, which was also live-streamed.

toronto protest

The occasional troll attempted to disrupt the rally, but ultimately didn't make much of a dent in the overall inspiring atmosphere.

toronto protest

Also during the rally, a giant tarp with the word "Tkaronto", the original indigenous name for the area where the city now stands, was held over the Toronto Sign.

There were many co-sponsors for the event, including Black Lives Matter, Not Another Black Life, Blockorama, Blackness YES, Queer Ontario and No More Silence.

toronto protest

If you didn't attend the rally in person, you can still support NPPC by reading and signing their list of demands.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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