Three London-based Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) offices were reportedly vandalized overnight Monday ahead of planned protests against gender and identity affirming practices in schools on Wednesday.
According to CUPE, three of its offices across the Forest City were targeted Monday night by “transphobic bigots” according to President of CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU) Laura Walton, claiming the vandals were “emboldened” following statements made by Ontario premier Doug Ford and education minister Stephen Lecce in recent weeks about parents needing to be involved if a student wishes to change their pronouns.
“Vandalism is a classic tactic of intimidation that has been used against organized workers and oppressed peoples by mobs that oppose freedom, equality, and justice the world over,” Walton said in a media release. “In this case, the violence against property is intended to intimidate workers who are speaking out to protect children’s right to education in an environment that’s free from harassment – and the right of all students to simply be who they are and express themselves regardless of their gender identity.”
CUPE said it has reported the incidents to the London Police Service.
Upon reaching out to police officials, LondonNewsToday.ca received the following response from London police:
“London Police Service is aware of the vandalism to the CUPE buildings. The investigations are active and ongoing,” said Media Relations Officer Matthew Dawson.
Walton said education workers will stand up with local teachers’ unions on Wednesday to ensure public schools are kept safe spaces for all.
“We also call on those with the most power, the education minister and the premier, to denounce attacks on students’ right to education and to support the fundamental freedom of children not to be discriminated against,” said Walton.