Friday For Future activists prepare for sit-in during COVID

Sep 25, 2020 | News

Protesters for Friday for Future TO say they will exercise their right to gather and protest even as COVID cases rise in Ontario.

“The province has made changes to the gathering limits, but this has not affected our resolve to continue with the sit-in on Friday,” said Ruby Swartz, a coordinator for Friday For Future TO.

The Toronto-based organization dedicates their time and passion educating the city of Toronto on climate change and why the residents in Ontario should care.

The team of activists have planned an action-packed week full of online events leading up to their main sit-in event on Friday, Sept. 25.

Leading up to Friday, the events include film screenings of Women fighting for Climate, youth speaking on Climate, and a live virtual viewing of the Speech from the Throne delivered by the government on their plans post-pandemic recovery plan.

“It’s exciting that we are returning to the streets – and it’s important to ensure the event is safe, so we are taking COVID developments seriously,” Swartz said.

On Sept. 18, 2020, the Ontario government advised the public there must not be any group events with over 25 people, considering the size of the location.

“COVID has highlighted and worsened the inequalities that exist in our country,” Mackenzie Harris, a graduate student in nutrition at the University of Guelph, said. “If these concerns are not addressed, we will not be able to move forward collectively with climate action.”

A virtual meeting took place on Sept. 22 to discuss a health plan that would limit transmission risk during the event. To have this sit-in, the organization has made it clear on what organizers and attendees must do to prepare themselves.

Some of the precautions mentioned for all attending are: wear face masks, bring your sanitizer, make sure you stay at least six feet away from other attendees, and complete the Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment before taking part the sit-in.

The Climate Action Week sit-in on Friday, Sept. 25, will be at Bay Street and Wellesley Street West from 12 to 3 p.m.

Trained legal observers from the Movement Defence Toronto will support organizations and attendees present.

“We are not going back to the status quo,” Harris said, and “demand our government start putting people and the planet over profit.”

FFFTO staffer Cooper Price stressed the need for urgency.

“We need to take action now, despite the situation we are in,” Copper Price, a staff member at FFFTO, said.

“We have run out of time to be patient.”