About 40 queers protested an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) queer recruitment event in Toronto on Sept 18.
According to a press release posted on the Pride Toronto website, the OPP event was aimed at “attracting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates to a policing career with the Ontario Provincial Police.”
Protesters gathered in Cawthra Square Park beside the 519 Church Street Community Centre, where the OPP event was being held. After a few short speeches, the group moved to the front of the building and shouted chants, including “Whose centre? Our centre!” and “No justice, no peace! No homophobic police!” The protest lasted about 45 minutes.
“We don’t want the cops recruiting from our community to oppress us, our families and our communities,” reads a pamphlet distributed at the protest. “It’s time for our communities to find our own solutions to our own problems without the state.”
More from the organizers, via the Facebook event page: “As a collective of concerned queers, trans folks, community members and former prisoners, we oppose The 519’s decision to again welcome police into our safer places, the OPP’s long history of brutal policing of indigenous communities and crackdowns on reserves, the raiding of factories and massage parlours for undocumented workers, unwarranted searches and unlawful detentions in low income neighbourhoods, police harassment and sexual assault of trans women suspected of being sex workers, the institutionalization and incarceration of people with disabilities and neurodiverse people, the profiling of racialized folks especially youth, the homophobic and transphobic violence by police covered up as accidents, homeless sweeps and the criminalization of dissent.”
A handful of officers watched the protest from a close distance.
In June, queers heckled Toronto police chief Bill Blair at a police-Pride Toronto cocktail party, which was also held at The 519. The timing of that event — just two days after a clampdown on civil liberties during the G20 — led queers to rally outside the building for more than two hours.