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Canada Canadian Centres Brace For ‘occupation' As Protest Movement Goes Global

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Canadian centres brace for ‘occupation' as protest movement goes global

TORONTO— The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011


The grassroots protest movement that swept across the United States after starting in New York almost a month ago arrives in Canada today, with “occupations” planned across the country.

From St. John’s, N.L., to Victoria, B.C., demonstrators inspired by Occupy Wall Street plan to march or take over public spaces.

While their causes are varied and demands disparate and sometimes contradictory, the protesters uniformly plan to express abhorrence at what they see as corporate greed that has disadvantaged and disenfranchised the vast majority of people.

They say governments defend the interests of the elite, not those of the masses.

For example, said Chelsea Taylor, who is part of the Occupy Edmonton movement, Alberta’s oil industry is dictating government policy.

“Oil might run your car, but it really shouldn’t run your government,” Ms. Taylor said.

The largest protest in Canada on Saturday is expected to be Toronto’s Occupy Bay Street – in the country’s financial heartland.

Other Canadian cities slated to see protests include Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax, Fredericton, Moncton, N.B.; Guelph, Windsor, Kingston and London in Ontario; Nanaimo, Courtenay, Duncan, Kelowna, Kamloops and Nelson in B.C.; Lethbridge, Alta., Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

Those involved maintain it is irrelevant that Canada has weathered the economic crisis better than the U.S. – as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have asserted.

Instead, they argue the gap between rich and poor in Canada is growing faster than in the U.S.

Among other issues, they decry poverty, tar-sands pollution and exploitation of aboriginal people.

Despite hundreds of arrests, the protests across the U.S. have been largely peaceful, and those involved in planning the Canadian demonstrators are insisting they, too, will be non-violent.

Still, the police and protester violence of the G20 in Toronto in June last year and hockey riot vandalism in Vancouver four months ago are casting shadows over the Occupy Canada planning.

While Toronto police have been keeping a low profile, Vancouver police are warning protesters not to cover their faces.

The Occupy Wall Street protests have also spread around the world.

Supporters in Sydney, Australia, waved signs such as “You can’t eat money” as they demonstrated on Saturday.

About 200 people in Tokyo joined in protest, and Philippine supporters in Manila marched on the U.S. Embassy to express their support. Hundreds of people also joined peaceful protests in Hong Kong and Seoul.

In Europe, the movement is joining up with anti-austerity protests that have raged for months across the continent.

In Frankfurt, some 5,000 people took to the streets to protest in front of the European Central Bank.

Hundreds marched through the Bosnian city of Sarajevo carrying pictures of Che Guevara and old communist flags that read “Death to capitalism, freedom to the people.”

Several thousands were expected to protest in Rome.

On Friday, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said he was confident Canadians would exercise their right to express their concerns appropriately.

“With that right comes a corresponding responsibility: To be respectful of others and the laws,” Mr. McGuinty said.

Mr. Harper called the situation in Canada “very different” from that in the U.S., saying there were no bank bailouts in this country.

Despite the approach of colder weather, protesters say Saturday will be just a start.
They say they plan to maintain their occupations for the longer term, just as those in New York’s Zuccotti Park near Wall Street are doing.

Brookfield, the Canadian-owned company that owns the occupied lower Manhattan plaza, backed off plans to clean it after protesters warned they would not leave.

The company also owns several landmark buildings in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, including Exchange Tower, the site of the Occupy Bay Street protest on Saturday.

source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news...-protest-movement-goes-global/article2202234/



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