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

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

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

Central Saanich has received funding for a new multi-use pathway that promises to improve access to Butchart Gardens. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich receives grant for multi-use pathway to Butchart Gardens

Province funds entirety of $322,800 project through economic recovery grant program

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Most Read