An Estimated 200,000 March in Italy, in the First Protest Since Police Killed a G8 Demonstrator; Thousands More Shut Down Toronto in Canada

StoryOctober 17, 2001
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More than 200,000 people marched through towns in Central Italy on Sunday calling for peace and an end to US attacks on Afghanistan.. The annual march to the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi, started 40 years ago by an Italian pacifist, this year drew traditional peace groups, left wing Catholics, trade unionists, and anti-globalization activists. For anti-globalization activists in Italy, who have recently turned their efforts to antiwar organizing, it was the first major protest since police killed a demonstrator in Genoa at the G8 summit.

In the early hours of pre-rush hour morning in Tornonto yesterday, over 2,000 people gathered in downtown Toronto to protest the Canadian government’s increasingly repressive policies. Union representatives, anti-poverty activists, anarchists, OCAP members and radicals of all stripes managed to shut down the financial district of Toronto clogging downtown traffic and halting the subways for almost five hours.

The rally, which was organized by the Ontario Common Front and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, was intended to mark the start of an “economic disruption” campaign against the Tory government. But the attacks of September 11 and Canadian support for the US war on Afghanistan changed the tenor of the demonstration, which was relatively peaceful. Yet although there were only a few skirmishes in the streets of Toronto, over 40 were arrested. This as Canada tries to pass a restrictive anti-terrorism bill similar to the one passed in the US House of Representatives.


  • Mario Pianta, Professor of Economic Policy at University of Urbino and a long time activist with the Italian Peace Roundtable, a network of over 300 peace and civil society groups.
  • Judy Rebick, columnist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Newsworld, publisher of the web magazine RABBLE.CA, and author of the book Imagine Democracy.
  • Amber Sands, organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
  • Allen Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association

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