The right to protest peacefully is one of the things that makes Canada such a great place to live - it solidifies its status as a free country. However, the line between protesting issues you oppose and calling for violence against those you disagree with can sometimes become blurred. That's exactly what happened during a string of Ford protests in Toronto this week.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Queen's Park on May 1st for a "general protest" against Doug Ford. Amongst these protesters were a group of activists, who brought a set of controversial props with them. Hammer and sickle flags, signs that called for the head of Doug Ford and a homemade guillotine coated in fake blood were all spotted at the city park yesterday.
“May history repeat itself. Chop! Chop!” read a sign held up by a protester who stood next to the makeshift killing machine.
Unsurprisingly, many found the makeshift beheading instrument to be disturbing. Even Doug Ford himself spoke up, suggesting that the activists had gone "too far" this time. He criticized members of the NDP who had attended a separate rally this week for not condemning the behaviour:
I normally don’t get too concerned by protests. I’m here to help the real people working in the back of factories,… https://t.co/Cs9hvLOSTp— Doug Ford (@Doug Ford) 1556811478.0
Many people seemed to side with Ford on the issue, even those who disagree with his policies as a premier, claiming that the protest had clearly crossed a line:
@fordnation This is unacceptable, even though you are a terrible Premier, these people need to be arrested.— Den Marcoux (@Den Marcoux) 1556812363.0
@fordnation Please lay charges. Uttering a death is a criminal offence.— Tony Costa (@Tony Costa) 1556813984.0
@brianlilley They should be jailed— Suzanne Normoyle (@Suzanne Normoyle) 1556801521.0
@fordnation I am quite against many current initiative of this government, but I don’t want to be associated with v… https://t.co/lwjloXlOPU— Cheeky Lit Teacher (@Cheeky Lit Teacher) 1556814554.0
Thousands showed up to Wednesday's rally, called a "General Strike Against Doug Ford", is described by organizers as a "solidarity movement". Similar events were planned at cities across Ontario for May 1st.
"What’s most important in this, to my mind, is that the people of Ontario realize that they do not need permission to stand up and say that they’re not going to take it. We’ll call it a success if it furthers the overall opposition to these dangerous and poorly researched cuts that we’ve seen from the Ford government," read a Facebook statement from event organizer Dakota Langtree.
I'm uploading my HD footage from today's May Day LA march right now. In the meantime, which of these signs from tod… https://t.co/XNEDIczjYV— Ford Fischer (@Ford Fischer) 1556771990.0
Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services Lisa Macleod also lashed out against the protest ripping into NDP leaders, demanding that they apologize for "their attendance" at the event:
Question Period begins w @MacLeodLisa calling out the NDP for an anti Ford protest at Queens Park yesterday where… https://t.co/uvigedIlQq— Cynthia Mulligan (@Cynthia Mulligan) 1556808110.0