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Occupy NS: Weekend in review

From the eviction to the rallies

Dal students Leanna Winberg, Sonia Grant and Alex McPhedran link arms

“Happy fucking Remembrance Day.”

Victoria Park echoed Nov. 11 with the shouts of the Occupy NS protestors, who had learned at noon the city would be enforcing a no-camping bylaw.

The eviction notice was signed by acting CAO Mike Labrecque. Mayor Peter Kelly has said council made the eviction decision.

The 40 or so police, who were there on City Hall orders to remove the tents and camp equipment, were silent—for the most part.

Occupy NS - 23
Police look on as protesters chant and link arms

Fourteen people were detained that day on counts of obstruction of justice. When occupiers made the trek back to Grand Parade Nov. 12 as planned, three people were re-arrested—this time for breaking the conditions of their release. They were not allowed to set foot in a public park.

The bylaw prohibits camping in public parks (which includes the Grand Parade) without council permission at any time, as well as being in a park between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Occupier Dave Ambler has been camping since the start of the occupation. “We’re not doing anything wrong by being here,” he said on Friday afternoon. “Now, camping, apparently there’s a bylaw. But the thing is, we’ve been camping here for a month. Why now? Why Remembrance Day?” he said.

“Why today? Our homes are destroyed anyways. Everyone’s down. No one’s on their toes.”

At that point, he said he could see the eviction being a setback. “I don’t think it’s going be over, but we’re going to have to regroup,” he said.

As Dave talked, a small group of protestors started taking out their anger behind him by smashing glass and tearing tarps. Dave rushed over.

“Why? Why? That’s awful!” he told them. “We’re better than that.”

United Church ministers show their support for ONS

That night, at around 6:30 p.m., protestors let police through their human chain to take the last symbolic tent out of Victoria Park. Then the group zigzagged up Spring Garden Road to St. Andrew’s church, where minister Russ Dawe and a few volunteers opened their doors to the crowd.

Homeless protestors were able to sleep the night in the church’s meeting hall, although they had to be out for 8:00 a.m. the next morning to make way for an athletic group.

Billy Lewis, a Mi’qmaq veteran, occupier and police liason, was worried about getting back into the Grand Parade for the 11:00 a.m. rally Saturday morning. “There aren’t many entrances and there aren’t many exits. There are going to be police at each of them.”

As it turned out, police were present. But protestors did make it back into the square for their rallies on Saturday.

Dan Wieb was at a Second Cup when he heard the news of the eviction. “I think it’s ridiculous,” he said. “They were accommodating for the Remembrance Day ceremony, peacefully.”

Wieb is a graduate student of sociology at Dalhousie. He is not involved with Occupy in any way, but said “it seems to be something really significant happening. And it seems to be growing in strength, which is why in my opinion this kind of clamp down is happening worldwide.”

Torey Ellis
Torey Ellis
Torey was the Copy Editor of the Gazette for Volume 145 and Assistant News Editor for Volume 144.
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