By Amy Bourne
Terrorist attacks in the United States only increase the need for demonstrations for social justice, says Alex Lisman, v.p. education at Ryerson.Fearing heightened security, though, activists who planned on protesting in Washington later this month have decided to plant their placards north of the border.
Last Wednesday, Sept 12, the Toronto Mobilization for Global Justice (Mob4Glob) cancelled the six buses that were to take protesters from Toronto to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 28 to protest the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. After multiple terrorists attacks in the U.S., “the border has become almost uncrossable, especially to protesters,” said Lisman, who was helping to organize the demonstration.
“I can imagine us stepping off the bus in D.C. and being arrested,” Lisman said. “The events in the U.S. are going to change the way activists interact with security, and this will require a new analysis of how we approach protests,” he said. The IMF and World Bank Group issued a statement Monday announcing the annual meeting would be cancelled. “This decision was taken out of deepest respect and sympathy for the families of all those touched by the horrific events last Tuesday, and in order to dedicate law enforcement personnel fully to the extraordinary and immediate priorities at hand,” the statement read.
Lisman said that while protesters are disappointed about the cancellation, it has not stopped them from reorganizing and planning a large scale demonstration in Toronto, with a slightly different purpose. Mob4Glob proclaimed Monday that Sept. 29 will be deemed the National Day of Action for World Peace and International Solidarity. A Mob4Glob representative said they will organize rallies in different cities across Canada in hopes of bringing even more people together than were expected to rally in Washington.
The theme of the demonstrations in Canada will be world peace and global justice. “This will be a peace rally to raise awareness,” Lisman said. “Without global justice, we cannot have global peace.”
“The events in the U.S. will help people understand the connections between poverty and war,” he said. Lisman warns the rallies in Canada may be larger and more effective than the one planned for Washington because of the media attention in Toronto.