A pro-life rally held at the Student Learning Centre (SLC) last Wednesday was met with harsh confrontation from pro-choice protesters. Some protesters disrupted the event by tearing down signs, displacing material, insulting attendees and harassing a senior female speaker. Although no physical attacks took place, the situation escalated to the point where several Ryerson security guards and Toronto police officers were called to the scene.
The Silent No More event hosted at the SLC by Toronto Against Abortion (TAA) included informational materials, videos, and speakers. Throughout the event, the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective (RRJC) blocked the event with posters and some supporters from Toronto’s Black Lives Matter movement were seen verbally and physically disrupting the event. The event did not include any graphic images which have previously drawn harsh criticism by multiple Ryerson students.
One Ryerson student and pro-life supporter said:
“They were desecrating the property, and when I tried to stop them they threw out posters, signs, our food, and they were intimidating us. Personally, I feel it is important to show both sides of the issue. We are showing one side, they are showing the other, unfortunately through violence, and I don’t think that their tactics are appropriate. We as a student group are fearing for our safety because they are being so aggressive.”
Members of the TAA were unresponsive and did not retaliate to any provocations. One member of Toronto’s Black Lives Matter chapter was seen recording a live stream while shouting and removing informational materials. The individual was seen arguing with an SLC worker, claiming that the event itself was violent and that the worker should “check her privilege.” The SLC worker after claiming to feel threatened, called the police.
The live stream, which has more than 6,000 views, can be viewed here.