As hundreds of thousands gathered in the streets of Montreal for a general strike in support of Montreal’s student movement, Occupy Toronto led a march of hundreds to show their support for the students and against the repressive Charest government’s moves to criminalize protest.
Occupy Toronto is answering the call from Quebec to bring the spirit of the student strike to the rest of Canada, and stands with the rallying cry for free education.
“Education, the youth: these are investments, not expenses. And if we aren't investing in our children, then what is the point of money?” said Roxy Cohen, an organizer with the Occupy Toronto Free Skule.
The Toronto march, which started at the University of Toronto’s Hart House today at 2pm, held a general assembly to discuss the march's route, deciding on a route that ended at Ryerson University.
Montreal student activist Laura Dolan addressed the assembly. "This isn't just a solidarity action," Dolan explained. "Tuition is already too high across Canada considering places like Mexico can afford free education at the university level without sentencing students into a lifetime of debt. Additionally, Bill 78 is a contradiction to Canada's stated commitment to human rights. Toronto is initiating its own movement to demonstrate our opposition to a corporate agenda that puts fighter jets and prisons ahead of education and healthcare."
Protesters decried the media coverage of the student strike within Ontario. Often characterizing the students as “entitled” and comparing their protest to acts of terrorism, English media outlets like The Sun and The National Post have mischaracterised this popular movement and created a false media consensus against the student strike. Meanwhile, Sandy Hudson, Chairperson of the Ontario Canadian Federation of Students said her organization is "absolutely 100 per cent" behind striking Quebec students.
Unprecedented numbers of people have joined the students in daily protests throughout Quebec, with hundreds of thousands showing support in Montreal today to mark the 100th day of the strike.