Back in November a group of anarchists and militant protesters connected to Occupy Toronto converged on West Toronto in protest of a nuclear fuel processing plant run by GE-Hitachi. Led by Zach Ruiter, the protest quickly became a farce. The people in the neighbourhood were unhappy how the publicity hurt their property values- many became quite hostile to Zach’s regularly blocking neighbourhood traffic with his motley crew of dissidents. There was some dissent within the ranks too after Ruiter turned his marches into cop-baiting sessions.
This week it’s become clear how negative of an impact of Ruiter’s protests have had on the neighbourhood. The protesters have progressed from causing simple inconveniences to vandalizing infrastructure across several city blocks. All together 32 pirces of anti-nuclear graffiti have been identified- stretching from Dupont & Bartlett up to St Clair and across to Landsdowne avenue. The people I’ve spoken to in the area are far from impressed…
The most prominent example is where someone spray painted “Idle No More” on the side of the GE-Hitachi building (see above image). It looks like the person who did this was trespassing on the rail lines, hopped the fence and stood on-top of an air vent. The ‘artwork’ was quickly painted over, but is very similar to another Idle No More graffiti on Dupont & Spadina:
But that’s only a small part of the damage that’s been done to the community. In addition, there have been small nuclear symbols with the word “No” beside them peppered across the neighbourhood. Here’s an example from Bartlett avenue:
What’s interesting about this particular piece of vandalism is that there’s a direct connection between Zach and the house with the yellow door. It’s the same place that he stopped the crowd in front of during his cop-baiting march that featured NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo back in March. Ruiter said that the house belonged to someone with Greenpeace, I met them today, and they weren’t exactly impressed to see this in-front of their house and all down their street.
The “No” vandalism occurs at least 25 times around the neighbourhood. Besides that, and the “Idle No More” tags, there are also a few examples that say “Demand A Health Study!”. GE-Hitachi regularly does studies in the neighbourhood for leakage of nuclear materials and have yet to have found any problems.
And, here’s an example from Dufferin Avenue, just north of the train tracks at Dufferin & Geary Ave:
The deeper one looks into the behaviour of the ‘activists’ behind the anti GE-Hitachi protest, the more more confusing their tactics become. Blocking traffic, hurting property values, unnecessary battles with the police- and now, petty vandalism. None of which are going to help Zach and his crew gain the sympathy and buy-in from the people in the neighbourhood.
Sometimes one has to wonder if they’re intentionally trying to drive people away from joining activist movements. Either that, or their selfishness and immaturity is beyond reproach…