Crowds gathered outside city hall at Nathan Philip Square to protest the recent $50 million police funding increase.
Speakers said the police funding should go towards more social services around the city, including affordable housing, helping the unhoused and providing more accessible and reliable public transit.
Further, family and friends of individuals who died during police interventions were present to offer remarks and support the advocates and speakers.
The protest’s central message was to defund the police instead by at least 50 per cent and allocate the funding to marginalized communities and groups.
Some voices called for a complete abolition of the police, citing past violence as well as former interim police chief James Ramer’s apology in the summer for subjecting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Peoples of Colour) to more strip searches, stops and potential for physical altercations.
During the ongoing budget committee meetings, protesters entered to ask city councillors to speak to the families of those whose loved ones died when police were called, including Taresh Bobby Ramroop, who died during a mental health crisis in October.
The police funding increase was approved by the Toronto Police Services Board last week despite several deputations opposing it.
Toronto’s police budget is at $1.6 billion in 2023 after the $50 million increase.
Despite the approval, protests against the budget will continue in the coming weeks.
Listen to CJRU’s coverage of the protest against the increased police budget: