TORONTO ACTION is a coalition of civic and political organizations, namely EriForum, Qalna, and the Toronto Branch of EDA
A contingency of Toronto Action setup a picket line on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at the foot of a high rise building, where the repressive Eritrean regime maintains an office in Toronto. Reaction from taxi drivers, streetcar riders and pedestrians was tremendous. They took our leaflets. Others paused for a moment to ask questions.
Among others things, our placards called for the unconditional release of prisoners of conscience, the rule of law, freedom of religion, free press, and called on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate the operations of office # 309. The placards also called on the RCMP to investigate the operations of the Issaias regime all over Canada in light of Canada’s implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1907 (2009) against the regime.
Just to inform our international friends, the Canadian federal government has implemented the above mentioned resolution recently. Our lobbying effort has paid off in that sense. The Issaias regime saw the writing on the wall and as a result started scaling down its operations in Canada. It closed down its embassy in Ottawa and withdrew its staff. However, everyone who is a Canadian citizen among the staff has been transferred to Toronto in an expanded office.
This particular PFDJ office has two components, what they call “the Eritrean Cultural Centre” and Beilul Money Transfers. We have a good reason to picket it as many days as we can until the building owners get fed up and throw them out. It is from that office that they continue to harass Eritreans in Toronto for 2%, payments for one military offensive or another, and transfer funds from those who support family members in Eritrea. Of course we all know the first thing they did years ago was to prohibit Eritreans from transferring funds through private business entrepreneurs.
They have learned from their thuggish and illegal money transfer operations in Washington DC and the broader US. The embassy on Ottawa hired an individual to run Beilul Money Transfers. Who then registered Beilul with the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Affairs as a private business under his own name. They pretend that Beilul is independent and only enjoys business links with PFDJ by sharing office space. The individual that PFDJ hired to run Beilul has incriminated himself by making a sworn statement in court assuring Canadians that Beilul is an independent and private business enterprise.
Toronto Action is doing its best to hasten the movement towards democratic changes in Eritrea with the help of four committees. One committee is exploring the legal avenue to challenge any illegal activities. The second committee is working to bring media coverage to the plight of Eritrean prisoners of conscience, and the third committee advocates for Eritrean refugees, particularly in Northern Africa. The last but not least is the committee which organized the above described picket line and its main task is to follow and thwart PFDJ initiatives in Toronto. All committees lobby Canadian politicians and government officials. The ultimate objective is freedom of choice for all Eritreans. Our motto is one that denies choice to others should not be left to enjoy choice undisturbed.
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Residents and occupants of 120 Carlton Street were curious to find out our objections to the occupants of suite 309. The over 20 storey building is shared by office units, up to the fourth floor, and the rest are expensive condominiums. Most of the residents did not appreciate discovering they are sharing their building with such a terrorist regime.