ontario debate protest

Doug Ford's security scrapped it out with protesters at a chaotic Toronto debate

The dust is still settling after a raucous debate between Ontario's political party leaders in midtown Toronto on Monday, overshadowed by a chaotic campaign-trail scene outside the debate site that saw protesters clash with Premier Doug Ford's security staff.

As the clock ticks down to the June 2 election, Ford participated in a key debate on Monday with Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca and NDP leader Andrea Horwath, and Green leader Mike Schreiner.

It was an absolute slugfest at TVO's studios south of Yonge and Eglinton, but a messy scene captured outside of the building serves as a reminder of just how much dissent has been festering in the four years since the last provincial election.

In the short time since the debate, several videos have emerged depicting a heated encounter between some of the roughly 250 protesters gathered outside of the TVO studio, many in the crowd dressed in purple representing the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) protesting cuts to nursing and the Ford PC pandemic policy.

One of the videos shows a protester in purple wrestled to the ground in a violent throng of police, SEIU supporters, and men in suits and earpieces reported to be part of the premier's security entourage.

The scuffle ensued after a group of the purple-dressed protesters reportedly tried to halt Ford's campaign bus, resulting in one member of the group being taken to hospital with injuries.

Lawyer and activist Caryma Sa'd was on the scene recording the incident, and upon initially seeing the injured man being carried away on a stretcher, she was reluctant to post it before getting a clearer picture of what had gone down.

She tells blogTO that she shared her angle of the scene after seeing the footage above depicting "what appeared to be Ford's security shoving the nurse from behind."

Sa'd claims that while reporting, she faced resistance from both protesters and law enforcement, saying "a cop yelled at my cameraman for getting too close to that scene. The protesters in purple didn't seem to want photos taken of them."

Lead photo by

Caryma Sa'd

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