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OCCUPY TORONTO: Respect, Inclusiveness –and “Hi, officer-dudes, can I take your pictures?”

October 16th, 2011  

In yesterday’s blog, I said that I was going to OCCUPY TORONTO simply to cover the protest and any protest-related graffiti.

Reminder, that I use the dictionary definition of graffiti, “unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface.” Bottom-line, there wasn’t any at OCCUPY TORONTO.   Plenty of people writing with chalk on sidewalks, mind you, but no graffiti.

I’ve often said that collecting data is usually the easiest part of research —it’s the analysis and interpretation of what you’ve compiled that’s the true challenge. I came back from Toronto with several hours of OCCUPY TORONTO video and hundreds of photographs. And I’m not really sure of what I witnessed.

So I’m telegraphing a major caveat here, that I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that there were more people photographing/videotaping the protest than actual demonstrators.

Next, because I was at two G20 Queen’s Park rallies, I recognized quite a few individuals suggesting there was considerable overlap between those demonstrating July 2010 and yesterday.

The whiff of marijuana was pervasive and people openly shared joints.

And it seemed to me that as with any human gathering, there was a core group organizing and making things happen. These OCCUPY TORONTO leaders stressed “Respect” —respect for each other, respect for police, and respect for St James Park’s environment.

Now this is just my opinion but the chant “We are the 99%” just does not ring true. Regarding all those present, I wondered just how many bothered to vote in the October provincial election. This was a young crowd and to my eye, a good number were college/university students. But mixed in were people very much in need, very much so.

I carefully observed the police. Bicycle patrols mostly and in the early hours, no uniformed police presence in the park proper. It really wasn’t possible to get more low-key than that. Police were relaxed and I witnessed friendly, respectful interaction between them and the public.

Here’s a fun one to share with you. At one point I heard, “Hi, officer-dudes, can I take your pictures?” and this guy with an impressive purple mohawk sauntered up and wedged himself between two Toronto police officers, flashed a peace sign and now has a cool pic for a souvenir!

And I have cool video of it.

OCCUPY TORONTO: “Hi, officer-dudes, can I take your pictures?” (0:45 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

What follows are just some pics to give readers an idea of the general feel of yesterday’s peaceful OCCUPY TORONTO event.

If I were to summarize the overall mood of OCCUPY TORONTO’s 99%, let’s just say it was commensurate with Reader’s Digest Canada Editor’s Choice selection for “Most Trusted Canadian” —a banker.

One-on-One with Mark Carney

He works behind the scenes. Most Canadians don’t recognize him. But as governor of The Bank of Canada, Mark Carney steered us through the global financial crisis. Meet our man of the year.

By Julia Belluz From: Reader’s Digest Canada, May 2011 issue

Mark Carney: Most Trusted Canadian

The governor of the Bank of Canada doesn’t take himself too seriously. When Mark Carney learns he’s the winner of Reader’s Digest’s inaugural Editor’s Choice Award as the Most Trusted Canadian, he chuckles. “It’s hard to say that without laughing, isn’t it?” he asks. But as the man who oversees the economic and financial welfare of Canadians, Carney’s responsibilities are no laughing matter. Neither are his accomplishments.

Last. What follows is what I regard as my top “mood” photographs.


OCCUPY TORONTO “Patience”. St. James Park  October 15, 2011

OCCUPY TORONTO, gazebo in twlight
OCCUPY TORONTO Twilight. St. James Park  October 15, 2011

OCCUPY TORONTO, "the marriage between democracy and capitalism is over."
OCCUPY TORONTO at the gazebo. St. James Park  October 15, 2011

OCCUPY TORONTO campsite. St. James Park  October 15, 2011

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This is Part 1 of 3 OCCUPY TORONTO blogs.




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