Written by: Heather Clemenceau
(All images copyright Heather Clemenceau – use with permission only)
Again we are joined by many supporters from Toronto Pig Save who I’m sure also feel our pain. Unlike the protest on April 27th, La Palette co-owner Shamez Amlani only interacted with us long enough to politely ask some protesters to move away from the door. The glass partition at the front of the restaurant was down tonight as the weather was spring-like. I can’t imagine that the continual honking of support can be pleasant for diners with the glass partition removed, but again, most customers tonight are bar patrons and not dinner patrons. And it’s Queen West, so they’re likely used to honks and the screeching of tires on asphalt as accompaniment to their Belmont Steaks and Seattle Slew Stew. Fine dining doesn’t get any better than this! Bone Appetite! (pun intended).
Tonight, we also had a non-confrontational visit from the police. They either happened by, which would be one hell of a coincidence, or they were called by someone. They chatted with a few of us for a few minutes and then went inside to talk to Shamez. In short order (pun intended) they went on their way without any further questions.
Aside from one restaurant patron and a couple of drive-by hecklers, we experience only positive comments. I spoke at length with a man and his teenage daughter about why many people are opposed to horse slaughter. We’ve also seen Shamez get frazzled by a lone protester who showed up nightly through the week, where patrons were seated at the front of the restaurant with a good view of the protest signage.
Normally, we don’t interact with the diners at La Palette when we protest. The vast majority of disquieting interactions are due to the customers trying to provoke an argument. But on this Saturday, one pugnacious patron is wearing his pugilistic proclivities on his sleeve, literally. Notice the T-Shirt. Well, I’m hardly offended, but the FCUK brand has been controversial in the US, with the Mayors of various cities telling the FCUK people to remove their ads from billboards throughout their cities. The brand also features female models engaging in physical fights. So I’m guessing this particular patron is the kind of asshat who likes to go a few furlongs (pun intended) with people to deliberately yank their chains.
In any case, this guy arrived with a female partner, and they proceeded directly inside without any conversation with any of the protesters. After about 2 minutes, he marched outside and ponies (pun intended) up to Bob (poor Bob – why does everyone want to start something with him?) He turns to Bob and asks him if he’s a vegetarian. Bob “assumes the position” – sign over head, perhaps an evolutionary strategy to appear bigger to the person on the offense? Why do people assume that we must be rawfoodists living entirely off-the-grid in order to be able to ethically protest against horsemeat? Granted, most of the protesters are at least vegetarian, if not vegan. He proceeds to grill (pun intended) Bob on whether he eats this or that, and when he receives his response, our customer announces that it’s all “bullshit.” “How dare you come to my restaurant on my night?” Well duh! It’s always going to be “someone’s night” at La Palette, isn’t it? Why not yours? The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is entrenched in Canada’s constitution, guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly in section 2(c), but it says nothing about refraining from protesting on any Saturday night that might conflict with your own personal plans. Get over yourself. A few terse words are exchanged, and then the guy lets better judgement prevail and goes back inside, and fortunately we don’t see him for the remainder of the evening.
If Shamez soon does not find himself a better class of customer, we may perhaps see La Palette portrayed on this show.