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.

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

Former Victoria HarbourCat and Chicago White Sox player Andrew Vaughn. (Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox)
Former Victoria HarbourCat hits first MLB home run, adds another two days later

Andrew Vaughn is the first HarbourCat alumni to hit a homer in the majors

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read