Anonymous submission to North Shore
For the 13th year running, anarchists in southern Ontario gathered on new years eve to help continue the international tradition of new years prison noise demos. This year, we visited both the Toronto South Detention Centre, and Hamilton’s Barton jail.
We started with Toronto South Detention Centre, where an ongoing covid outbreak has led to weeks of lockdowns. It had been a few years since a new years visit had been paid to Toronto South, and we weren’t sure what kind of reception we’d get from inside. We were hugely rewarded as we began to light up the sky south of the prison with fireworks and the cell windows filled with people who could take in our waving, fireworks, and “Fuck Prisons” banner and knew we were there to wish them a happy new year.
Before we headed out to visit the Barton Jail (Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre), an update was shared that just earlier that day, news had been received of an outbreak in the jail. As has been the case previously in Barton, as well as elsewhere, cells are packed beyond capacity, prisoners are having to fight to receive basic sanitation supplies, and the entire facility is under near-constant lockdown. We circled the jail, setting off fireworks, throwing paint bombs, and shouting our new years wishes to the folks waving back at us from inside.
As we head into another year with the looming threat of a worsening public health crisis, it’s as important as ever to let prisoners know that we have their backs. This past year saw historic numbers of prisoners inside of Barton participate in organizing during a major covid outbreak. As covid again begins to spread in the jail, we need prisoners to know that they remain part of our lives and part of our struggles.
As long as these vile institutions are standing, we’ll keep fighting for all of us to be free.