Vegan Protesters Take Over Toronto’s Eaton Centre
Shopping on Saturdays in downtown Toronto is always a hectic affair. Everyone comes out ready to shop until they drop and it certainly wasn’t any different this weekend at the city’s biggest shopping mall. The Eaton Centre was filled with parents and kids doing their back-to-school shopping when a crowd of protestors stormed the mall.
The Eaton center saw the largest gathering of vegan protesters that have been getting attention across the city storm the mall this weekend.
The protest was a peaceful one and was a continuation of the Animal Right March that happened in Toronto on Saturday, 25th August. Nearly 300 protestors flooded the mall in slow-moving clumps, chanting and singing into megaphones, going up and down the escalators, and holding signs that promoted living a plant-based lifestyle.
Some reports say they even set off the mall’s fire alarm. Although security attempted to block the doors and escalators, their attempts were unsuccessful. The protesters originally started marching at the downtown core of Toronto but they decided to move indoors perhaps thinking they could better get across their message in a space like the Eaton Centre.
A couple of protesters held signs filled with language most Torontonians were around familiar with thanks to past protests. Some of the signs also included a growing number of subway ads such as “It’s not food, its violence,” and “Animals do not want to die.” There were also posters with pictures of farm animals like chickens and cows with captions like “I need your voice” and “I want to live.”
It’s not the first time that vegans have protested in the city and chances are it won’t be the last. However’ this ‘familiarity’ didn’t mean that Torontonians were particularly happy with the extremely vocal and disruptive activists.
Some of the protesters wore shirts inscribed with phrases like “Vegan Legion,”“United for Animals,” and “Animal Liberation Now.” These inscriptions served as an indication of the vegan groups, movements, and events they were affiliated with.
Direct Action Everywhere, the animal rights activism network, spearheaded the protest, which eventually ended up at Eaton Centre.
Footage of the demonstration that ended up on social media was equal parts moving, haunting, and annoying. While some commenters online got riled up just from seeing the words veganism alone, others were touched and approving of the action. Some were also indifferent and just wanted to continue with their shopping.
In some footage, you will see protestors setting off a fire alarm, an action which was just downright irresponsible, and in others, you see them singing hits from the sixties like “What the World Needs Now.” While their singing may have been aggravating, it was certainly harmless. Hopefully, any future protests that happen won’t involve setting off any fire alarms otherwise someone may get hurt in all the panic.
Torontonians may be finding it hard to get used to all their vegan neighbors, but it seems those neighbors are ready to prove that they’re here to stay. You can see it in all the new vegan shops and restaurants that keep popping up across the Greater Toronto Area.