MAY DAY OTTAWA 2012
In the wake of the Quebec student movement and Occupy, “May Day” was revitalized in Ottawa-Gatineau by a loose-knit group called Solidarity Against Austerity. The march went from downtown Ottawa to Hull and ended outside the PMO’s office at Wellington and Elgin Streets.
MAY DAY OTTAWA 2013
When Solidarity Against Austerity reformed to organize May Day again, it was with added purpose. We wanted to continue working together through the year. One event, once a year, was not enough. We could do more.
On Wednesday, May 1st 2013, two of Three Little Birds played music for people gathering for the “West Feeder March” in McNabb Park. In attendance were representatives from CUPW, CUPE, ACORN, IWW, communists, anarchists, students and folks from the neighbourhood. At the same time, the “East Feeder March” assembled at the University of Ottawa. The Western march went East to Yasir Naqvi’s office on Catherine Street, where two speakers from ACORN spoke. From there, we went North up Elgin Street past the Ottawa Police Services building. Then we turned back West to the intersection of Bank and Somerset Streets. We were met by Ottawa Food Not Bombs, and treated to some refreshments. Members of Under Pressure spoke to the crowd, as the East marchers approached from Somerset. When they joined us, we all moved North towards Parliament. Eventually we snaked our way to the PMO. There we smashed some pinata Stepen Harper-heads full of chocolate loonies and assorted change. MC Anne-Marie Roy first introduced Bridget Tolley, from Families of Sisters in Spirit. Bridget spoke of how austerity effected her community and of the murdered or missing Indigenous women, like her mother, who was the victim of police brutality, negligence and unaccountability. Afterward, Clayton Thomas-Muller spoke of the atrocities committed by our subsidized oil and gas industries, how they endangered the environment and local population. He also mentioned movements such as Occupy and Idle No More that have risen against austerity and corporate avarice.
When all the speakers were done, Guatemalan activist and musician Tito Mendina premiered his song “Solidarity Against Austerity” for a loving and appreciative audience. And the march went on. Or at least the party did, to Babylon Nightclub on Bank Street. Loon Choir and Jesse Dangerously entertained the proletariat into the wee hours.