Black Lives Matter Toronto Tent City (#BLMTOtentcity) is an occupation of Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square and Police Service Headquarters beginning on Sunday, March 20th 2016 and continuing though Monday, April 4th 2016 where protesters effectively put law enforcement and public representatives on notice. The action was a peaceful response to anti-Black racism and police brutality after a culmination of events including the death of Jermaine Carby, a 33-year-old Black man who had been killed by police in Peel minutes after leaving his home and the Ontario Special Investigation Unit’s (SIU) announcement that the officer(s) who killed Andrew Loku, a Black man with a history of grappling with mental health, will not face criminal charges.

This page is intended to serve as a comprehensive account of the #BLMTOtentcity occupation which even in the face of violent opposition has quickly transformed into a worldwide community of resilience, artistic expression, political change, and mutual sustainability. Please see below for demands, timeline, photos, video, and news coverage.

Read janaya’s account of the birth of #BLMTOtentcity
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Demands

#BLMTOtentcity will continue until Mayor Tory, Premier Wynne, and Chief Saunders adhere to these 6 demands:

  1. The immediate release of the name(s) of the officer(s) who killed Andrew Loku and charges to be laid against the officer(s)
  2. The adoption of the African Canadian Legal Clinic’s demand for a coroner’s inquest into the death of Andrew Loku
  3. An overhaul of the province’s Special Investigations Unit in consultation with families of victims of police violence, the Black community, and the community at large
  4. A condemnation of Toronto police’s excessive use of force and ongoing intimidation tactics against Black Lives Matter Toronto protesters
  5. The immediate release of the name(s) of the officer(s) who killed Alex Wettlaufer and charges to be laid accordingly
  6. A commitment to the full elimination of carding including the deletion of all previously recorded data, reframing of regulations to prohibitions, consistent implementation policy amongst different police boards, and concrete disciplinary measures for officers who continue to card

See janaya’s blog on #BLMTOtentcity’s demands

 

#BLMTOtentcity Timeline

March 20th: #BLMTOtentcity occupation is born out of an action that began as a rally

March 21st: The occupation moved to Toronto Police Headquarters where they were threatened with arrest then brutalized and vandalized by police while agents in hazmat suits sprayed unidentified chemicals in the air

March 22nd: The community shows up with love and supplies to replenish what had been destroyed while police continue to surveil through the night

MUJER releases solidarity statement

March 23rd: Mini Black Arts Festival is manifested with storytellers, singers, dancers, performers, and visual artists, others continue to show up in solidarity and offer wellness support, and the police cut the power

The City of Toronto and festival organizers announce that Afrofest will return as a two-day festival after pressure from the #BLMTOtentcity movement

March 24th: BLMTO holds a press conference alongside Litigation Lawyer, Saron Gebresellassi, to announce a lawsuit against the Toronto Police Service

March 25th: The Toronto & York Region Labour Council announces solidarity, CUPE Ontario announces participation, Latin American Queer Education Project announces solidarity, and over 100 prominent artists and community leaders sign a statement of support

March 26th: #BLMTOblackOUT rally is held in front of police headquarters, over 3,500 people attend, College Street is shutdown

In response Toronto City Councillors Mike Layton, Kristyn Wong-Tam, and Gord Perk’s plan to submit a motion in council requesting that the provincial government review police conduct in Toronto and how the SIU conducts investigations

TORONTO BLACK CITY MIXTAPE : A Love Letter In Song To Black Community is released

March 27th: DJ Craig Dominic creates a ‪#‎BLMTOtentcity‬ mixtape

janaya and BLMTO reps appear on NewsTalk1010 for a one-hour interview

March 28th: AJ+ releases video on #BLMTOtentcity and it receives over 828,000 views

March 29th: BLM Montreal and allies gather in Norman Bethune Square to show solidarity with the mobilization efforts of BLMTO

March 30: BLMTO Co-Founder Sandy Hudson appears on CTV News Channel to talk about Mike Layton’s motion, overhauling the SIU, and the foolishness of the Toronto Police Association president

March 31st: Motion to ensure police services and investigations are fair and transparent is submitted to the Toronto City Council

BLM­TO goes to the family home of Kathleen Wynne to invite them to ‪#‎BLMTOtentcity‬ to engage in conversations surrounding their demands

April 1st: BLMTO shows up at City Hall with a giant copy of the SIU report and demands the names of the officer(s) that killed Andrew Loku

The Toronto City Council votes unanimously in favour of the motion that asks the province to review police services in Toronto and Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) through an anti-Black racism lens

The Black Liberation Collective holds a discussion and strategizing meeting at #BLMTOtentcity

Almost 100 Black faculty members issue a statement of support

April 2nd: On the 13th day the occupation reaches 300 hours, Najla Nubyanluv’s reads her new children’s book ‘I Love Being Black’, Fusion Collective Choir performs

April 3rd: #BLMTOtentcity serves Black Beautiful Brunch including vegan and gluten free pancakes, fresh fruit, sausages and waffles

April 4th: #BLMTOtentcity holds their final action at Toronto Police Headquarters called Black Reckoning, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne visits, BLMTO leads a procession and shuts down College Street holding a banner saying “Which side of history are you on?”, there’s dancing in the street, BLMTO leaves behind their final demand that in 300 hours, or 12 and a half days, Mayor John Tory, police Chief Mark Saunders and Premier Kathleen Wynne must meet with them publically, a banner is also left behind reading:

“You are on notice. Your anti-blackness has been exposed. We are not finished.”

 

 

Photo Gallery

 

Video Gallery

 

News Archive

Black Lives Matter Toronto breaks camp after meeting with Premier Wynne

Kathleen Wynne vows to work with Black Lives Matter on SIU review at Queen’s Park

Black Lives Matter Protesters Confront Ontario Premier on Steps of Legislature | VICE News

Black Lives Matter demonstration at Toronto police HQ ends | Metro News

Wynne meets with Black Lives Matter protesters at Queen’s Park

Black Lives Matter Tent City Ends on a Hopeful Note | cityscape | Torontoist

Wynne Meets With Black Lives Matters Protesters

Black Lives Matter activists win meeting with Ontario premier after weeks-long protest

Premier Wynne agrees to meet with Black Lives Matter protesters

Black Lives Matter protestors talk about their two-week protest-and when it might end | Toronto Life

Wynne has impromptu meeting with protesters outside Queen’s Park

Black Lives Matter demonstration at police HQ ends | Toronto Star

Wynne meets with Black Lives Matter protesters

Wynne speaks with Black Lives Matter leaders amid Queen’s Park protest

Meet the faces of Toronto’s Black Lives Matter tent city

Inquest begins Monday after SIU clears Toronto Police officers in man’s death

Justice trumps order

Montrealers demonstrate in solidarity with Black Lives Matter Toronto – The McGill Daily

Inside Toronto’s Black Lives Matter camp | Toronto Star

Weekend Newsstand: April 2, 2016 | news | Torontoist

Protesters draw Kathleen Wynne’s ire after demonstration at her home | Toronto Star

Premier’s partner ‘unnerved’ after Black Lives Matter protesters leave items at her home

Police investigate after Black Lives Matter protest at Ontario premier’s home

Black Lives Matter protests at Kathleen Wynne’s Toronto home

Black Lives Matter Toronto Protest Still Going Strong

A new feminist revolution

Black Lives Matter Protesters Zero in on Politicians in Week Two of #BLMTOTentCity Protest Against

Extra Extra: The Black Lives Matter Mixtape, A New Voice on the TTC, and Don’t Be Late to the Meter | news | Torontoist

Black Lives Matter Toronto Releases Toronto Black City Mixtape

Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Toronto gaining momentum

Media Advisory: CUPE Ontario joining Black Lives Matter demonstration Saturday – Press Release – Digital Journal

At the Black Lives Matter Toronto protest, art is on the front lines

Police must name the officer who killed Andrew Loku: Cole | Toronto Star

Black Lives Matter Toronto protest digs in for long haul

Black Lives Matter demonstration continues at Toronto police headquarters

VIDEO: Toronto police push, shove Black Lives Matter protesters Monday night

Peaceful Black Lives Matter protest turns violent with police force

Black Lives Matter protesters remain at Toronto police headquarters

Photo Essay: The Faces of Black Lives Matter Toronto | cityscape | Torontoist

Toronto police clash with Black Lives Matter demonstrators | Metro News

Black Lives Matter demonstration continues at Toronto police headquarters

Police, demonstrators clash at Andrew Loku protest, while victim’s uncle calls for video | Toronto Star

Canada: Police Crackdown on Toronto Black Lives Matter Protest

‘We’re not going anywhere,’ Black Lives Matter protesters say at police HQ

Black Lives Matter protesters occupy area outside Toronto police headquarters

Black Lives Matter – Toronto tent city to stay up all night in Nathan Phillips Square