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On Saturday March 5, thousands of people took to the streets of Toronto for the International Women’s Day 2016 Rally, Fair and March.

The march was part of a global day on March 8 celebrating the achievements of women and this year’s Toronto event named “All Women Rise Up” focused on three principles: No to violence and hate: Rise to reconciliation now; No to racism and Islamophobia: Black Lives Matter; and no to poverty: Justice on the job.

The rally and march in Toronto was organized by the IWD Organizing Committee, Women Working with Immigrant Women and social justice, labour, health and women’s rights activists.

International Women’s Day spokesperson Andrea Calver stated to CityNews that this year the march wanted to stress equality for Aboriginal women, specifically citing the new Liberal government and the potential to make real action on the promise to end violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government promised to launch a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women within its first 100 days in office. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced on December 8, 2015 that the first phase of the inquiry had been completed.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, along with other NDP members, were present at the march with both later tweeting their honour and excitement.

According to one of the marchers, participants could be heard chanting “Where is Premier Wynne?”

Labour organizations, social justice and human rights groups and individuals marched to bring awareness to a variety of issues including pay equity, health care, national child care, gender-based violence and missing and murdered women.

Berta Cáceres, an Indigenous leader and environmental activist in Honduras, who was murdered in her hometown of La Esperanza on March 3, was honoured and remembered at the march.

Cáceres peacefully protested the environmental destruction of large land development projects on Indigenous land, which includes companies linked to Canada.

“Join us in demanding justice for Berta,” activist Ana Rugamas said to CBC Saturday News during an interview.








All photos by Elizabeth Littlejohn and are used with permission.

Elizabeth Littlejohn

Elizabeth Littlejohn

Elizabeth Littlejohn teaches sustainable design, social innovation and new media, and has written about transit policy, Toronto’s municipal politics, civil rights and the environment as a features...