Occupy Toronto protesters marched in the busy Yonge and Dundas shopping district Tuesday evening, capping a day devoted mostly to strategizing.
About 200 people took part in the demonstration, which began shortly after 8 p.m. at St. James Park on Jarvis Street and made its way north up Yonge. For the second time in as many days, protesters took over the intersection outside the Eaton Centre and took part in a large dance.
The march stopped traffic in the area and drew the attention of shoppers and filmgoers in the bustling neighbourhood.
After roughly an hour, the crowd marched back to the park, where protesters have been camped out since Saturday to protest what they say is an unequal economic system that is creating a growing gap between rich and poor.
On Tuesday morning, a small splinter group named Occupy Bay Street held a protest in the financial district, drawing little attention as they paced among bankers on their way to work. Police outnumbered the group of three.
Occupy Bay Street has a similar message to Occupy Toronto, but the two aren't officially affiliated.
“They haven’t offered very many solutions,” said the splinter group’s organizer Emilija Cooke, about Occupy Toronto. “We want to communicate with Bay Street workers, leaders, politicians.”
At Saint James Park, there was friction between people who wanted to plan in the park and people who wanted to protest. One grumbled about going to the streets or banks “because that’s where we belong.”
Mass meetings were held at noon and 6 p.m. on Tuesday. A small group of about 30 left the park to march to Bay Street following the lunchtime assembly.
Volunteer Taylor Chelsea said it was important to use the day to talk about the internal dynamics and leadership of the group, which doesn’t have official organizers.
“We're going to talk about how other people can step up so we can step back,” said Ms. Chelsea, adding that includes anything from cutting up apples to picking up garbage.
“If people want people want to go and occupy [intersections]again, they will organize themselves to do so.”
Ms. Chelsea estimated between 100 and 200 people have stayed each night. On the weekend, an estimated 2,000 marched from the financial district to the park.
At the evening meeting, protesters talked more about logistical issues as well as strategy for dealing with reporters, who have covered the demonstrations virtually non-stop for four days.
Toronto's protests, and others in Canada and throughout the world, mimic one in New York, where protesters have occupied a park near Wall Street since last month.