UPDATE: It’s probably no surprise to see that OCAP’s sponsor, Sid Ryan’s Ontario Federation of Labour has released a statement on Yatim’s case, continuing the pattern of exploitation.
On July 29th a young man named Sammy Yatim was shot and kiled by police while standing inside of a Toronto streetcar waving around a knife. It’s impossible to know the details of what happened without an investigation, but the initially released videos didn’t look very good. Most people who’ve watched them now question if something was done wrong- including Yatim’s family and friends.
Shortly after the videos went viral, the union affiliated Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) did something entirely transparent and predictable- publishing a call for an anti-police rally to protest the killings. This, of course, brought in hoards of self-promoters, anti police extremists, angry loners and militant anarchists- OCAP is a magnet for those who want to riot against the police. But, 90% of the crowd were good people who simply came to express their sorrow over an undeniable tragedy.
Situations like this have the potential to be highly volatile. This march was no exception, OCAP’ers are legendary for their raw hate of all things police. And, they’re well organized entryists- when facing their prey, they’ve often been successful appropriating other people’s causes. But this time things were different, Sammy Yatim’s friends and family were too strong to succumb to OCAP’s weaknesses.
Yatim’s family and friends arrived in a group about 10-15 minutes before the march was scheduled to begin, carrying signs, and expressing their desire that his case is handled justly. They were loud, but from the moment they entered the stage they acted respectfully and without aggression. When they stopped, they gathered together and took the opportunity to make a statement to the media.
They began their speech making it clear they wanted a “civilized” and peaceful process. They then explained their belief that there must have been “so many other civil ways” to have handled the call that night, and questioned why the police didn’t shoot first with Tazers. People around them cheered, some began yelling out for militant solutions- despite the family’s wishes.
The family then decided to march out of Dundas Square and headed south down the Yonge street sidewalk. The media came chasing after them and a filming frenzy began. Then, about 200 meters away from the square, Sayed Hussan of No One Is Illegal came running up and tried to take control. First telling them that they should turn around and go back to the square to “wait for the other people who are coming”. The family were happy doing their own thing, but were ultimately convinced it was a good idea.
As they turned Hussan then began steering them towards the middle of Yonge street. They were reluctant at first, but he was insistent and they followed as he bounced around directing them with a cheerleader’s enthusiasm.
The family then decided to head west on Dundas street- more people decided to join them. But, once again, Hussan and the OCAP marshalls steered them back towards Dundas Square. People resisted going back but, with enough encouragement, OCAP was able to wrestle back control.
Back at Dundas Square a familiar character showed up- Ryerson professor Judy Rebick. She’s someone who spoke out most vocally after the violence during the riot at the Toronto G20. Contrastingly, she has close relationships to many of the people who were arrested in 2010- including Alex Hundert and Sayed Hussan who were helping to lead the Yatim march. It’s unknown if she’s expressed any concerns about OCAP’s appropriation of the family’s issue- she’s yet to have made any statements on Occupy Toronto’s racist, anti-Semitic hate broadcast she was slated to attend a couple of weeks ago.
The marshals next guided the protesters to start marching west on Dundas Street. Yatim’s family lead chants like “justice for Sammy”, and other non-aggressive messages. But, as the crowd approached the police’s 52 Division building, they began to overtake the family’s momentum. Then, when they arrived there, things began to get out of hand.
The most rowdy of the crowd broke away from the march and began to storm the police station’s front doors. Bike cops gathered together to block them from entering. Anarchists pushed-in while waving their flags, and people began shouting hate and abuse at the police. As the mob grew, other bike cops lined up to protect the station’s glass brick front wall.
The family distanced themselves from the melee, walking further west on Dundas. At one point one of them began yelling at the crowd to move-on saying “We’re leaving now, we’re leaving!”. Your humble narrator took the opportunity to speak quickly warn them about OCAP’s militancy- she thanked me for helping her confirm her concerns and gave a quick high-five. It was undeniably clear the family had no interest in a riot.
As the crowd came along many people began chanting and yelling at the bike cops. Sayed Hussan placed himself in-front of the police, and took no action to stop the abuse- it looked like quite the opposite. A few minutes after the attacks on the police began, something amazing happened.
Two people of Yatim’s kin began yelling into the megaphone asking the crowd to get more under control. The noise of the crowd was so high that many people didn’t hear their appeal though. Hussan was standing in-front of them as they spoke, clearly within hearing distance- but throughout the march, he wasn’t seen making any effort to get the crowd to respect their wishes. Had he done so, he’d be breaking the radical left’s agreement on Diversity of Tactics.
While the noise of the “f##k the police” (“FTP”) chanting increased, and the crowd quickly fell back into attacking individual police officers- family continued to try to reign in the tone. Next Hussan had another surprise for them, In a shamelessly transparent attempt to hold control, he had his fellow marshals rolled out a banner in front of the family. Banners are useful tools for ensuring the entire road stays blocked, and to help control the speed and direction of the crowd. Ruckus Society 101.
When the march reached the spot where Yatim was shot they stopped and gathered around it. A man jumped down and painted a red circle with his spray can, then placed down his hand and painted an outline of it. He followed this up spraying the paint all over his body, street theatre, and perhaps a way to get one’s picture in the paper or on TV. Similarly, a bagpiper placed himself out in-front of Yatim’s (Syrian) family for much of the march.
The crowd began moving again 10-15 minutes later, marching up to the foot of Dovercourt road. A speaker was setup and the family continued their statement they will be vigilant. OCAP then announced a future protest in front of Toronto police headquarters. There was a moment of silence, and everyone was respectful.
People were told that a group was going to march north on Dovercourt towards the 14 Division police station. There was a wide understanding this next stop could get militant. A number of people, including some of Yatim’s kin, decided to move on. But, the hardest-core anarchists were entirely eager- it’s a unique occasion when they’re able to hatefully swarm a police station with relative impunity.
When they arrived at 14 division the protesters had become a circus of radicalism, hate, anger, self-promotion- and many good people looking on in horror. One protester was screaming out racist remarks, many were chanting “f##k the police”, individual cops were being made into targets for abuse. One of the officers looked deeply hurt- he’s a regular at the protests and only appears to treat people with respect and kindness.
In a story reported by UndercoverKity, Swamp Line 9 arrestee Trish Mills was put under arrest (presumably for mischief) after walking up to the police line and writing “cops, pigs, murderers” on the side of the station. The anarchists led the crowd to move in on the police- using a tactic that G20 ringleader Alex Hundert was imprisoned for called “de-arresting”. In a move to avert a potential riot, the police let Mills go. It’s unknown if the police will later pursue her for arrest, or if this will be addressed in her trial over the Line 9 incident.
A short while after the crowd continued screaming insults and FTP chants. OCAP anarchist Doug Kynikos walked up to protesters standing beside the police stations’s front window- with them were Davyn Calfchild, one of those wacky University of Toronto Maoists, and Swamp Line 9 arrestee Gary Wassaykeesic. The three of them began banging on the windows with their flagpole, others began banging with their hands- the police stood their ground and let this continue.
As the crowd thinned out many of the radicals began to leave too. Some of the stragglers began to use this as an opportunity for shameless self promotion. The infamous cop-baiter Zach Ruiter tried to get people to start doing Idle No More chants, but the crowd mostly ignored him- he then moved on to promoting his anti-nuclear rallies. An unknown man started yelling to the police that they are like Hitler and Stalin.
Then came the Occupy Toronto livestream drumming circle- bursting into a song and expecting everyone to give their attention. Some people ignored them and kept talking, Ruiter went to them telling them they need to be quiet and ‘respectful’ while the shameless Kevin Annett supporting drummers did their piece. These were some of the same people who were banging on the station’s windows a few moments earlier.
Despite all of the hate surrounding them at the march, Yatim’s family and friends stayed true to their message and were respectful throughout. They not only had to endure the loss of a loved one, but had insult added to injury having to deal with the raging mobs and professional agitators. Watching people who’ve faced such tragedy take-on and help tame an angry mob was a truly inspiring sight.
OCAP, and their supporters, have a lot of explaining to do. It wasn’t right for them to try and co-opt Yatim’s killing in the first place- but, when the family made it clear they didn’t want an FTP march, OCAP’s lack of effort to fix the problem was positively shameful.
This can’t be allowed to happen again- OCAP needs new management…
OCAP under new management is a good joke. I recall suggesting that about ten years back. It just got me drummed out of OCAP. The shadowy figures controlling OCAP from the side will not relinquish control. What is needed is an alternative to them. I could discus that in depth some other time.
“In a move to avert a potential riot, the police let Mills go. It’s unknown if the police will later pursue her for arrest, or if this will be addressed in her trial over the Line 9 incident.”
“avert a potential riot”? I think they failed to respond to one. I have read much of the historical commentary on riots, and as much as I agree with many so-called “progressive” issues, the protest movement tactics of the last century are now, thanks to the internet, revealed as little or nothing more than “riot.” The police do not read the riot act and conduct mass arrests because they do not have holding cells—for the G20, they needed to use specially converted areas, and I suspect that required tons of advance planning. And then for trials, they do not have the judicial resources necessary—charging even a few dozen rioters would likely cause at least some cases to be delayed to the point that the Charter comes into play.
This is a serious problem in North America—there are not enough jail cells or facilities to hold rioters pretrial, and the radical left takes advantage of this. They know that getting enough people together is a “free pass” to do things that one could never get away with as an individual.
The more I look at the issue, the more I think that it is impossible for cash-strapped cities and other organizations to maintain peace, order and good government. So, they don’t. And, if we consider how the University system is involved in this, it seems like people who have trust reposed in them as Professors are “poisoning the well,” teaching young people that criminal behavior is an acceptable method for getting your way. The sad thing is, it is probably cheaper to teach people to tolerate criminality than it is to enforce the law, especially due to the mawkish tenderness of many who agree with the issues and who therefore do not insist on strict enforcement of the law.
And this is without going into how screaming in the street is a breach of the peace. If one person does it, they get arrested. If 1000 people do it, why don’t they? Must be that the cops are easily cowed. That needs to change. One law for everyone, regardless of how many “comrades” are part of the criminal organization.
That is another aspect, these protest-groups should likely be billed as criminal organizations. True, their object isn’t human trafficking, drug running (that we know of) or anything like that, but an organization formed for the purpose of, for example, committing the crime of breach of the peace, is still a criminal organization.
Greg, this is one of your very best articles ever. The way OCAP exploits events like this and then looks for ways to enact violence or to try and incite violence needs to be fully exposed. Names , faces, everything about them needs to be exposed. This was a very tragic event and while the family who is directly affected by it seemed to want to have a respectful, peaceful event. OCAP the anarchists and their goons , as always, wants to find excuses to co-opt , take over and turn things into dangerous and violent situations. Thank you for shedding light onto these violent criminals
Unfortunately,the attempt at hijacking the protest was as predictable as it was shameful.I don’t believe for one minute that OCAP will change their ways,I expect them to further exploit families such as the Yatim family.It’s outrageous that the drive-by media refuses to report the facts,clearly by not doing so they are complicit.Professors who condone and facilitate groups like OCAP should lose their tenure and that includes my aunt who is one at the U of T.
The public must be educated on the identity of the people who are involved,Social Services should clamp down on recipients who participate in acts of violence and vandalism.These people do not have to be arrested on mass,they can be taken into custody after the fact,judges have to start doing the job they are tasked with and begin using meaningful sentencing.City Councillors have had their collective heads stuck up their derriere long enough and stop arguing over where a Wal-Mart should or should not go and address real issues for a change,they need to stop being cowards worrying about their precious offices being occupied,they don’t work for the occupiers,they work for taxpaying Torontonians.
There are public and high school teachers who bring in OCAP to speak to and presumably recruit their students, but the TDSB seems to support this.
Then OPIRG at UofT acts as an arm of OCAP, but the UofT administration insists it is none of their business. They even spent $500 for a button machine for OCAP after OCAP lost a major part of their button making machine after their office move. Should student levies be used to buy equipment for OCAP?
Then there are members of city council who openly support OCAP like Janet Davis and Paula Fletcher who uses them as a weapon against their political political enemies and others who openly support OCAP-affiliated radical groups like the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations (OCAP and the FMTA together founded the Toronto Media Co-operative) to the tune of $370,000 a year for their partisan activities.
Tim Rourke, the reason you were expelled from OCAP is because you’re too violent, even for them, and you’re still violent. Trying to enlist a long time, disabled, housing activist to build a bomb to blow up the Bell building is only one example of your violent streak. You discussed this here: http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/about%20law,%20libellers,%20Levitt,%20and%20living.pdf
Oh, looky. The NDP thought police still have me in their brief. The technique is to portray me as an extremely violent individual, without any evidence ever offered, in order to create a cover for one of their thugs to assault me. It is called criminal libel but there is no protection coming from the police. So Witty, I suggest that this fish be thrown back in the slough it flopped out of and blocked from posting any more.
By the way, people bemoaning the failure of the police to act against OCAP should consider whether OCAP amounts to an auxiliary of the police. They sure are good at disrupting and coopting peaceful protests.
Tim, in your blog you said “I actually do a lot of advocating “violent” and “terroristy” things. I think killing every psychopath on the planet would be a very good idea, so we can then
create a world fit for humans to live in.” and in the next paragraph ” I asked him if he wanted to help me build a bomb I could use on the Bell building.” It’s all on page 4 of your posting at http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/about%20law,%20libellers,%20Levitt,%20and%20living.pdf Clearly you’re a violent person, The GenuineWitty blog was set up specifically to expose and resist violence among the left and I hope now that Greg knows about your advocacy of violence he’ll steer clear of youl.
and yet does any of this mean anything to joe and jane sixpack watching on the evening news? tempest in a teapot comes to mind…
To Useful Idiot, yes, i do think that blogs like Gregs does in fact make a difference to the average joe because if it exposes the real facts, then someone out there is reading it, seeing clearly the evidence for themselves an dare able to make informed decisions, You may wish to note that as a direct result of people getting the message, union membership is down, thankfully and the unions are scrambling to find new ways to attract members to booster unions numbers.