The Toronto Star reports today that “thousands of activists are expected to flood downtown streets Saturday” for the ‘People First!’ rally and march.
Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, has estimated that close to 10,000 people will be marching this afternoon.
The rally and march is being organized by the Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Federation of Labour with the support of the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace, Oxfam and other groups.
“The rally will begin at Queen’s Park (at 1:00 pm EST).”
Council of Canadians staff and supporters will be gathering at the nearby north-west corner of College Street and University Avenue at 12 noon.
“(The march will) head south on University Ave. before turning on Queen St. W. — well north of the three-metre fences and police checkpoints that make up the security perimeter.”
“Police have told the rally organizers that when the labour march reaches Queen Street, it will be met by a wall of police in riot gear.”
“While labour leaders organizing the ‘People First!’ rally have spent months plotting their peaceful, family-friendly march, some fear the demonstration will be hijacked by protesters looking for confrontation.”
OFL president Ryan says, “If anyone’s got any intention of using the cover of the labour protest march to cause trouble, they have to think twice because we will have children in our march. I don’t want to see our message being lost.”
The rally is being promoted as family-friendly, but now Toronto’s police chief Bill Blair is saying to the media, “What I would advise people is don’t put kids at risk. Don’t put your kids on the front lines.”
At the close of last night’s sold-out ‘Shout Out for Global Justice’ forum at Massey Hall, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union president Dave Coles emphasized that the march would be non-violent and vowed to keep the young people marching today safe. He stated that we know any violence is likely to come from the police themselves.
The Toronto Star notes that the ‘Get Off the Fence!’ protest, organized by the Southern Ontario Anarchist Resistance, is expected to “splinter from the labour rally and continue a ‘militant’ march to the fence.”
The Toronto Star report is at http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontog20summit/article/828880–thousands-expected-saturday-in-biggest-summit-protest?bn=1.