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Rally for Orozco at Church and Wellesley

150 gather in support of Toronto artist facing deportation

About 150 people gathered at Church and Wellesley streets on May 20 in support of Alvaro Orozco. Credit: Katie Toth
A flash mob hoping to stave off the imminent deportation of Alvaro Orozco blocked the intersection of Church and Wellesley streets on May 20.
 
It was a festive atmosphere, with about 150 spilling into the intersection, dancing, singing an impromptu rendition of “We Are Family” and chanting “Justice for Alvaro; no more deportations.” Some onlookers nodded along. One precocious child made his distaste for the media known, shooting this Xtra reporter with a menacing bubble-gun.
 
“[Alvaro is] still very hopeful about the H and C (humanitarian and compassionate grounds) application, so we’ve still got to keep our spirits up,” says Craig Fortier, an organizer for the campaign to let Orozco stay in the country. “We’re here today – who knows where this flash mob might be tomorrow.”
 
Jane Walsh says impromptu street protests are a valuable tool for informing the public about important issues. Walsh works with women who are struggling with immigration status in her capacity as a social worker. She says queer people need to get more involved with immigration issues.   
 
But some participants in the flash mob said more could be done. Claudio Do Nascimento, a friend of Orozco’s, says, “I feel that we should reach out to more people and get them to… join our cause.”