Instead of listening to the message brought to them by a people’s delegate, Ontario’s Liberal government chose to arrest the whole delegation.
Eleven Toronto activists were arrested Wednesday for voicing concerns against Special Diet cuts. Organized by Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), the rally was held to support citizens on social assistance that are facing health/nutrition issues, and to demand that welfare rates be raised 55% to bring them back to what they were before 1995 when Harris Government moved to reduce them.
It was a peaceful demonstration supported by over 300 people who decided to send an 11-member delegation to Liberal Party in Toronto to deliver what they called an ‘invoice’ listing the money snatched away from people on welfare, and to show the impact Special Diet benefit cuts is likely to have. But in an unexpected and uncalled for action, the police was brought in, and the delegates were arrested soon after entering Liberal Party offices. As well, debilitating remarks were hurled at protesters in wheelchairs.
Two activists were released yesterday. Nine spent the night in police custody. A protest meeting was held today at College Park Courthouse against this undemocratic police action. This happens days after the arrests of about 1000 people captured during G20/G8 demonstrations.
The activists and organizers of both G20 protest and this OPAC demonstration point out the direct link between G20/G8 policies and the ‘austerity’ measures now being introduced to reduce benefits to Canadians who may need them the most. During G20/G8 summits, the Biggies get together to form and agree on strategies that will increase their profits at the expense of less privileged people around the World. Toronto, Ontario or Canada are no exceptions.
The protesters have put forward the following demands:
– Immediate release of all people being held
– Dropping of all charges
– Liberal government raise welfare rates by at least 55%
To support the demands and to defend arrested activists, contact OCAP
Media Contact: 416-826-4796