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Kenney gala disrupted, communities honoured, relationships strengthened

Pictures & Videos at: http://honouringourcommunities.tumblr.com/ (check often!)
Take a picture of yourself and a sign striving for social justice and upload it here too!

Over 400 protestors took to the streets of Toronto Sunday night gathering outside Toronto's Royal York Hotel. Inside, Israel's apartheid institution Haifa University supported by Stephen Harper, Peter Munk, Ezra Levant and others had organized a ceremony to give Immigration Minister Jason Kenney an honorary degree.

The demonstration occupied the intersection at Front and York blocking the main traffic artery going into the Hotel. When the police and security tried to sneak in the Tory elite into the hotel from the valet entrance on the east side of Front, half of us split off from the main march and shut that entrance off too. A small community celebration was organized at each of the entrances and the stories of Harriet Nahanee, Jan Szamko, Veronica Castro, Ned Peart, Adolfo Ich and Gabi Baramki were shared and remembered as protestors raised their red carnations and declared 'We Honour!' (See their stories by clicking the tumblr link above).

The sound of drums kept our spirits high as flags and banners for Palestine solidarity, against austerity, against racism, and for migrant justice fluttered in the bright, cold day. We received word that there were some fancy cars pulling into a parking lot on Wellington street and a large group of people left the valet entrance on the east side of Front, and ran around the hotel blocking that entrance too. Conservatives and Zionist supporters who thought they had it all figured out, were furious at being foiled and forced to continue driving in circles.

Behind the Royal York Hotel is an alley that for most of the night had allowed the racist pro-Kenney, pro-apartheid supporters a bit of cover. As we blocked the parking lot on Wellington street, we saw an opening into the alley and rushed in leaving both the police and hotel security scratching their heads. At this point, every entrance to the hotel had been disrupted or blocked while a sizable contingent had held down the initial stand-off at Front & York. As the clock ticked to 6:30pm, the official time for the dinner to start, we began to march in a circle around the Royal York with all four of the break-off contingents joining up for the victory lap around the building, a stark reminder of Canada's colonial past and present.

As we returned to the main entrance, we heard stories of two disruptions that had been quietly planned and executed inside on the floor where the celebrations were taking place. A group of medical professionals had dropped banners against cuts to refugee health and Bill C-31, and Jewish anti-Zionists had dropped banners insisting that Kenney dishonours the holocaust.

A fiery closing speech highlighted how we had come together and formed new relationships, and strengthened old ones. Forty three organizations endorsed this protest, and hundreds of people came to build bridges between our many struggles against racism, colonization and capitalism and in support of justice and dignity for all our communities.

We had set out with two simple goals for our demonstration on November 4th: disrupt the proceedings and honour our communities. We are glad to report that we succeeded in doing both. Now, onwards!

Pictures & Videos at: http://honouringourcommunities.tumblr.com/
Take a picture of yourself and a sign naming a person, a community or an issue that we need to honour as people striving for social justice and upload it here too!

Some mainstream media coverage

Front Page of Toronto's Metro Newspaper: http://honouringourcommunities.tumblr.com/post/35072123198/metro-toronto...
Toronto protest condemns Harper government immigration policies (CTV) - with video: http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/toronto-protest-condemns-harper-government-imm...
Protest condemns federal immigration policies (CP 24): http://www.cp24.com/news/protest-condemns-federal-immigration-policies-1...
Protest condemns Harper government immigration policies (CBC): http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/11/04/toronto-harper-go...
Toronto groups march against Harper government’s immigration policy (Toronto Star): http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1282612--protesters-snarl-traffi...
Protesters gather as Immigration Minister honoured (City News) - with video: http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/234512--protes...
Toronto: manifestation contre les politiques d'immigration (La Presse): http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/quebec-canada/national/201211/04/01-45...

This demonstration was organized by:

Afghans for Peace, Barrio Nuevo, Caregiver's Action Centre, Centre for Social Justice, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), Common Cause Toronto, Educators for Peace and Justice, Faculty for Palestine (F4P), Gay West Community Network Inc, Health for All, Immigration Legal Committee, Independent Jewish Voices - Canada, Independent Jewish Voices -- Toronto Chapter, Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity Network, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) Canada, International Socialists, Justice for Mahjoub Network, Justice for Migrant Workers, Maggie's: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, Movement Defence Committee, Munk OUT of UofT, New Socialist Group (NSG), No One Is Illegal -- Toronto, Not In Our Name (NION): Jews Opposing Zionism, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), Ontario Public Interest Research Group - York, Ontario Public Interest Research Group - UofT, Protest Barrick, The Public Health Social Justice Collective, The Women's Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA), Queers for Social Justice (QFSJ), Students Against Israeli Apartheid - UofT, Social Justice Committee of the United Jewish People's Order (SJC-UJPO), Socialist Project, Toronto Haiti Action Committee, Toronto Immigration Legal Committee, Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, University of Toronto Graduate Students Union, University of Toronto Students Union (UTSU), Women in Solidarity with Palestine.