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Protesters march to Toronto city hall in call for action against gun violence – Toronto

On Saturday, crowds of mourners and protestors marched from the Yonge Street and Bloor Street intersection to the steps of Toronto City Hall in Nathan Phillips square.

Participants — many wearing clothes commemorating those who had died — marched to draw attention to gun violence in Toronto and called for it to end.

At the heart of the event were the families of those who had died as a result of gun violence, organizers said.

“No one is listening to their voice and that’s why we are doing this, providing (a) voice for them and opportunity for them to speak up about their concern, their trauma, their grief,” Louis March, the founder of Zero Gun Violence, told Global News.

“(We march) to make sure that the government hears their voice and does what is necessary to stop this violence.”

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Some in attendance said they had seen loved ones killed in the past few months.

“We came today to support everyone that has lost people — mothers, kids, everybody,” Jesiah Martin said.

“I lost my dad this year, so we just came out here to support. And his favourite colour was red, so we came out here in red. So everybody hearing this, drop your guns. Just help the community.”

Jesiah attended the event with his siblings and mother, Aisha, all dressed in red.

“We came out as a family today to represent the absence of Brandon Brooks, who was my children’s father who was recently murdered in April due to gun violence,” Aisha, who did not provide a surname, said. “We are here to stand in his absence to bring community awareness that guns need to be put down.”

Brandon Brooks was killed during a shooting in M’Chigeeng First Nation at the beginning of April, Ontario Provincial Police said. Five people, all from southern Ontario, were charged with first-degree murder.

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“He was a nice, loving man,” Brandon’s daughter, Taya, said. “Every day he would take me to the park.”

Data maintained by Toronto police shows there have been 302 shootings and firearm discharges in 2022 so far. A total of 146 people have been killed or injured, with 31 firearm-related deaths.

Knia Singh, who is running in Toronto’s upcoming mayoral race, said the key to blunting the edge of Toronto’s violent crime is an increase in mental health resources.

“More police and stiffer sentences are not going to solve this violence; getting to the minds of people, mental health and ensuring that they have support is what is going to reduce violence in this city,” he told Global News.

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March said that while resources are being dedicated to the problem, policy is failing to make a difference in Toronto.

“There’s a lot of talk, there’s a lot of money being spent and we still have the problem,” March said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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