Protesters take to streets of Toronto

June 26, 2010

Protesters converged in the thousands on the streets of downtown Toronto on Friday to press demands that the Group of 20 industrialized and important emerging economies take more heed to the poor as they seek solutions to the global economic crisis.

Starting at Allan Gardens, one of Toronto’s oldest gathering spots and just a few kilometers from where the G20 will be held this weekend, protesters led by gender rights activists wound through the streets, dancing and chanting anti-capitalist slogans from noon to dusk.

Under a hot blazing sun, adults, youth and children, on foot, on bicycles and in wheelchairs, marched under banners shouting out for justice for the poor, for migrants, for the indigenous and to pay attention to global warming.

From start to finish the march was monitored by hundreds of police, most of them on bicycles, who kept demonstrators well corralled and away from the area where G20 leaders will begin meeting on Saturday.

Amid much saber rattling by protesters carrying banners with slogans like “Resist G20,” demonstrators clashed only sporadically with police.

Most scuffles occurred as police confiscated banners attached to wooden poles that could be used as weapons.

“We are going to deliver the only thing that ever won concessions from those in political power, and that is social unrest,” an anti-poverty activist said in a speech to demonstrators ahead of the march.

The demonstration went from noon to about 8 pm (1200 GMT), ending back where it started in Allan Gardens, where protesters erected a tent city to remind leaders of the G20 that behind the security fence that will enclose them lies a city that, while third world, has its own poverty to deal with.

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