Counterconvoy rally takes over Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto

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A new coalition calling itself Community Solidarity Toronto held a midday rally in Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall on Sunday to counter what they call “far-right” members of the Freedom Convoy.

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More than 200 people attended Sunday’s rally which was followed by a march down Bay Street, along Grosvenor Street to Yonge Street and ending in Dundas Square.

Spokeswoman Carolyn Egan said she and others had previously participated in a rally of health care workers in Toronto on February 5 – at the same time trucks and protesters supporting the convoy took over the University Avenue and Bloor Street that day.

“We are very concerned about the impact the event in Ottawa is having across the country,” said Egan, herself a healthcare worker, adding that the coalition is also made up of labor and anti-racism groups.

“We are concerned that there have been over 400 incidents that have been reported (to Ottawa police) since the convoy arrived there. (Alleged) sexist, racist and homophobic harassment that took place. And we see that a far-right group has taken control of the convoy and we want to say that we are in favor of a city where all our citizens can walk safely and be treated with respect.

One person was seen waving an anti-Trudeau flag at Sunday’s event in Toronto, but was moved aside by police without incident.

A rally against the convoy organized by Community Solidarity Toronto was held at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, Ontario. on Sunday, February 20, 2022. ERNEST DOROSZUK/TORONTO SUN

The event coincided with the third weekend of downtown road closures to prevent something similar to the occupation in Ottawa from happening in Toronto.

“It’s a minority of people, sure, but it’s not going away,” Egan said.

“I think what has happened is that the mirror actions that have taken place across the country at border crossings, in Quebec and certainly in Ottawa, give a real clarion call that there is a policy which develops. I think unfortunately a lot of people feel voiceless, a lot of people feel disenfranchised and we’re very afraid that they’re going in the wrong direction towards a far right perspective.

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Most, if not all, protesters and trucks were evacuated from the nation’s capital between Friday and Saturday and there were more than 190 arrests.

“Personally, I’m glad the siege is over and the people of Ottawa can go about their normal lives without fear or harassment,” Egan said.

“I don’t think our coalition has a perspective or a position on the Emergencies Act.

const. Toronto Police David Hopkinson confirmed on Sunday that Queen’s Park Crescent remained closed to vehicles and there were “more uniformed police” in the downtown area.

– with files by Ernest Doroszuk

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