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Activist Communiqué: Toronto's #Maplespread demo marches into the storm

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Yesteday, Duffrin Grove Park hosted its second Casserole Night in Canada demo in Toronto.

Off the success of last week, this Wednesday more than 125 cities across Canada participated in Casseroles across the country.

I want to give a special shout-out to the Northern Ontario community Kapuskasing (2010 population of 8,654). According to reports, their local radio station gave the organizers free ads and a local printer chipped in to cover the cost of the flyers.

The Casseroles are going global: New York, Chicago, Paris and Berlin. It's the bang heard across the world.

Reports from New York this morning indicated that the police were quite heavy-handed with casserole demonstrations resulting in 10 arrests.

The #Maplespread movement in the states is closely linked to Occupy.  You can follow the New York Casserole protests through this hashtag on Twitter: #nnycggi

In Toronto, we started the day to a severe weather alert for Toronto and the surrounding areas and a few Thunders did passed overhead during the day. In fact, the last thunderstorm ended right before the demonstration was supposed to begin at 8:00 p.m., and I mean right before.

My trusty photographer -- David Coombs -- and arrived 10 minutes before 8:00 p.m. and there was no one in the park but the Toronto police standing around waiting under a large tree.

The rain finally stopped as the last storm clouds passed over the park and the sun showed her face.

Then the Red Square demonstrators started coming, slowly filling the South end of Duffrin Grove Park.

The march ended up filling in to roughly 1,500. Not as large as last Wednesday, due most likely to the severe weather warnings and the still stormy skies to the East. Ian-the-marshal remarked to me he was happy people came out rain or shine.

800 people started the march at Duffrin Grove Park leaving to the southeast and began to wind its way through the west end neighbourhood to people on the porches banging pots and pans are dancing along.

The march laughed as it passed a man on his front porch banging a pot in just his underwear. Despite invitations to join the march, he held back.

With the unco-ordinated clatter of pots and pans (#failbeat), the march took briefly to College Street but again wound its way through neighbourhood streets.

While this at first confused a number of people in the crowd who wanted to stick to main routes a la economic disruption, the march maintained its classic Montreal style of engaging the local community for support and solidarity in resistance.

In Montreal, the Super-Manif Casseroles have built up a strong back of solidarity one neighbourhood at a time; key to sustaining itself after more than 100 days of protest against tuition hikes and the "Special Law" -- Law 78.

So next Wednesday when the Red Squares march again, don't forget the smaller streets. Because solidarity begins in the neighbourhoods.

During the march, as smaller feeder marches joined into the Mother-march, the crowd swelled to 1,500 people -- more than a hundred were late coming since they had waited out the thunderstorm and arrived to find the Duffrin Grove Park empty as the march had already left but finally joined up on Bloor Street marching towards the city centre.

Dark clouds filled with Thunders still hovered over Toronto's East end as the crowd marched defiantly into the coming storm.

Never mind severe weather. This is severe solidarity.

The march was determined to make it into the downtown core before the rain began. This added a certain urgency and energy as the occasional lightning bolt crashed across the sky.

As the march left the neighbourhoods behind to claimed all lanes on Bloor Street -- to the dismay the Toronto Police Service who tried and tried again but were unsuccessful in corralling the march of over 1,000 into one lane of traffic.

In the heavy air, the bangs of pots, pans, chants and drums echoed off the tall buildings as demonstration neared Yonge Street.

The march just turned onto Bloor Street and was heading south as the rain began.

All along, the crowd chanted in both English and French: "Fuck the special law / We don't give a shit!" in solidarity with its Quebec counterparts.


The next Casserole Night in Canada is scheduled for Wednesday June 13, 2012.

Please follow all the Maplespring coverage on rabble.ca here and on Twitter using hashtag #maplespread.

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