This is a message of support and solidarity to 5 protesters who were violently arrested in Toronto during a peaceful occupation of city administration offices in Toronto, Canada on 25th November, as they appear in court to face charges today. You can read more about it below – and to see more visit the OCAP Website
As regular readers of this blog will know, we have close links with Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and we applaud the work they do in standing up for the rights of disadvantaged people against a Toronto government that is as brutal and uncaring as our own.
On November 25, 2014, the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, five women were violently arrested after they peacefully refused to leave the City of Toronto’s Shelter Administration offices at 21 Park Rd. The sit-in was part of a protest to demand that the City of Toronto open up more shelter beds and a 24-hour drop in for women and trans people – commitments that were approved by City Council in 2014 but have not yet been acted upon. Daily shelter stats show chronic overcrowding in the system, many people are left with nowhere to go and the City of Toronto has no 24 hour services for women and trans folks. The lack of immediate action by the City is putting lives at risk. For more info on the crisis in the shelter system, visit http://www.ocap.ca/node/1202 The women arrested on November 25th sustained bruises and back injuries, were called misogynistic names, and are now charged with multiple offences. Other women present in the crowd that day were pushed violently to the ground by police. Ironically, the women will be in court at the same time as Jian Ghomeshi. That case brought the issue of violence against women into the media, but the conversations have mostly left out poor and homeless women. It was important to see all the articles, posts and tweets about violence against women in response to Ghomeshi, but when activists dared to take action to secure services that actually protect women, they faced violence at the hands of the city and the police. As Ghomeshi returns to the spotlight, we are holding a rally to support feminist activists who were violently arrested and to draw attention to the city’s failure to provide safe spaces and adequate shelter to women and trans people in Toronto.