Occupy Victoria plans ‘flash occupations’ around the city

Occupy Victoria protest group vows to battle on, despite legal risks

Victoria police Const. Mike Massine watches the Occupy Victoria protesters at Centennial Square on Monday. Campers

Occupy Victoria is planning a series of small “flash occupations” around the city in coming weeks, warns the Victoria People’s Assembly, the group behind the protest tent city at Centennial Square.

The new protest sites will range from downtown intersections to schools, malls and even Victoria police headquarters, and last from three hours to a couple of days, said spokesperson Anushka Nagji.

The action comes after the city ordered the protest camp removed from Centennial Square by Monday at noon, or face being ticketed for breaking Victoria bylaws prohibiting tents on city property during daylight hours.

Approximately one third of the 60 tents packed up and moved, but other protesters vowed to stay.

In a voluntary compromise to appease the city and the Downtown Victoria Business Association, which wants to set up a temporary Christmas season skating rink on Centennial Square, another dozen tenters moved to another location on the square.

Then, as the city’s noon eviction deadline approached, about 125 protesters and their supporters linked arms and shouted, “Hell no, we won’t go.” Another 75 people milled about expressing support but not linking arms.

No tickets were issued.

The planned flash occupations are in response to the city’s action on Sunday when Victoria bylaw officers, protected by police, handed out 87 eviction notices to protesters camping in Centennial Square.

Mayor Dean Fortin said the city now has little choice but to ask for a B.C. Supreme Court injunction ordering the protest camp to dismantle.

Once the city has an injunction in its hands it can legally send in police to arrest and remove the  protesters.

However, getting an injunction could take several days or weeks, Fortin said, even though the city wants them out by Nov. 21 to set up Centennial Square’s Christmas decorations and ice rink before the annual Santa Claus parade on Nov. 26.

Although the mayor and council continue to support Occupy Victoria’s ideals, Fortin said council and city staff have watched in horror as drug addicts, street people “and criminal elements” have moved into the tent city.

Ken Kelly, DVBA general manager, said the protest has already resulted in fewer people shopping  downtown.

“Our greatest fear is more people are going to avoid going downtown,” Kelly said, adding that the protesters have “no idea how to restructure the economy” and should leave voluntarily, or be removed.

“By remaining they are taking away the right of property owners to earn a living,” he said.

City police said the camp had been infiltrated by a large number of street people and drug dealers whose interests have nothing do with Occupy Victoria.

Victoria police spokesman Const. Mike Russell said the demographic has changed since the protest began last month.

“We’re seeing a lot of people we’ve known for a long time.”

What do you think?

Give us your comments by email: editor@vicnews.com. All letters must have a name and a telephone number for verification.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD to consider plan for mountain biking trails at Mount Work

SIMBS seek new trails in Hartland, Partridge Hills

Oak Bay clinic opens virtual classes to public for fundraiser

Patient activity is up for cancer-supporting clinic during COVID-19 crisis

More than 1,500 people expected at Victoria peace rally for Black lives

‘To speak up, all you need is a voice and the will to be heard’

Greater Victoria transit usage sees gradual rise

Ridership still down 66 per cent compared to last year

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Most Read