Toronto marchers stand with Standing Rock

Photo by Angela Lavallee

(L) Ravi Parmer, Logan Post and Sarena Parmer at Nathan Phillips Square, in support of Standing Rock.

Thousands of marchers walked in Toronto in support of Standing Rock North Dakota recently in a peaceful demonstration to show solidarity for those who oppose the pipeline.

More than 4,500 people gathered at Queen’s Park Nov. 5 in unison against the proposed North Dakota pipeline in the United States that has made global headlines.

Chief Stacey Laforme of the Mississauga New Credit First Nation spoke to the crowd and said that he is paying close attention to those on the front lines in North Dakota.

“We stand with you and we support you in the fight to halt this pipeline,” said Laforme to protestors at Queen’s Park.

The peaceful demonstration headed down University Avenue to the U.S. Consulate, then onto Nathan Phillips Square beside City Hall.

But police did halt the march briefly.

Once the protestors reached the U.S. Consulate they were met with Toronto police who tried to divert the protestors away from City Hall, but that didn’t stop the flow and soon the marchers took over Nathan Phillips Square. The protestors chanted, “water is life,” until coming to a stop at City Hall. York University student Logan Post volunteered in the event and collected donations for people at Standing Rock.

“It’s despicable what is going on there, it’s a human rights issue and for police to enter lands that is not theirs is a serious unjust,” she said.

Toronto actress Sarena Parmar, also a volunteer responsible for taking donations, said that Queen’s University made a donation, but would not elaborate on the amount.

“All the donations will be sent to Standing Rock for things like clothing, tents, food and water,” said Parmar.

Toronto Police Sgt. McDonald said the protest was relatively small compared to others he’s attended.

“There’s about 40 of us on police bikes, and it’s a peaceful demonstration,” said Sgt McDonald.

Patti Pettigrew urged protestors to join in the largest round dance in Toronto history. A round dance is part of the indigenous culture and symbolizes strength and involves holding hands to form a circle and dance to the beat of a pow-wow drum or hand drum.

The protest wrapped up at 6 p.m. where buses picked up out of town protestors.