Occupy Victoria remains calm despite loss of water, electricity

People's Assembly will look for environmentally-friendly alternative solutions

Despite water and electricity suddenly being cut off Nov. 2 to the Occupy Victoria tent camp at Centennial Square, the demonstrators didn’t react violently.

Instead, the People’s Assembly of Victoria, also known as Occupy Victoria, held an onsite emergency general assembly to look for environmentally friendly alternative solutions.

Assembly members, comprised of protesters and supporters, decided it was hasty to conclude that the actions were a deliberate planned attempt to “shut us down.”

The focus should be on finding out exactly why the power was shut off and find a peaceful solution to restore it and keep the 60-tent camp in the square online with the outside world, they said.

Only one protester urged that Occupy Victoria again set up tents in the lawn around the square’s sequoia tree.

That would be unethical because “we’ve agree to share the square” and leave it vacant, according to the assembly’s minutes, published on its website www.occupyvictoria. ca.

Occupy Victoria removed a small number tents from the lawn early last week and shifted them to another part of the square after the city said it wanted the tents moved so the tree could be decorated with lights as part of Victoria’s annual Christmas light festival.

The water and power cut off may have been a “blessing in disguise” because “it cuts our dependence” on the city for water and the Capital Regional District for electricity, said facilitator Anushka Nagji in an interview.

However, she said the protest camp were surprised at the number of police suddenly watching them at the time water and power were cut off.

She said Occupy Victoria was aware the city was preparing to shut down the water line in order to prevent it from freezing and breaking if the weather suddenly turned cold.

A couple of speakers at the assembly suggested collecting rain water with tarps, with others advising that alternatives like bicycle powered generators or a combination of gasoline powered generators and solar panels would provide enough electricity to keep the media tent online and keep information flowing to supporters, the public, and occupy movements in other cities.

Yet another member said occupiers in other cities often have surplus equipment that generate power and are willing to share it to keep Occupy Victoria strong.

“Grow the movement. Don’t be too picky on energy you’re using,” said the protester. “Let’s get the basics up and running (and) later when we have many options to choose from, we can afford to be more picky.”