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Activist Communique: The winter and spring of Occupy

A small Occupy Toronto encampment located in downtown Toronto has been shut down by the police.

Early Wednesday morning, Toronto police arrived to enforce the eviction of the small camp located near City Hall. The demonstrators were on provincial land -- Osgoode Hall and the courts at 361 University Avenue -- since the Toronto Stop the Cuts demonstrations and Occupy Toronto's Occupy City Hall encampment on January 17, 2012.

First, 10 tents were pitched at Nathan Phillips Square the night of the demonstration. Later that evening, when the crowds had left, security handed out written eviction notices to leave Nathan Phillips Square and suggested that Occupy Toronto move onto provincial land instead. Residents of this mini tent city were made up of supporters and those without homes and anywhere else to go.

The much larger Occupy Toronto camp at St. James Park -- which began on Saturday, October 15, 2011, and lasted 40 days and 40 nights -- was home to over 500 people. When the official eviction came down on November 24, 2011, the promise of help from the provincial government to house those at the camp never materialized, so a handful of residents banded together for warmth and survival on a little patch on land near City Hall.

Once at their new location, Occupy Osgoode received their first eviction notice from that site from Infrastructure Ontario on January 19, 2012 for 5:30 p.m. that same day but after a brief general assembly, the group chose to remain. No physical eviction came later that evening.

Another eviction notice was posted at the camp ordering the group to leave last Saturday, but again they refused to move until the Toronto police showed up to enforce the eviction on Wednesday morning.

General Assemblies are still occurring nightly at City Hall, 7:00 p.m. You can find the schedule for Occupy Toronto events here.

I would like to point out that there is nothing naturally wrong with hibernating for the winter. I mean literally, that is what nature does. A bear goes into its cave to rest, review the year and dream of next spring.

That said, I would like to give my respect to Occupy Newfoundland which is still going strong from its original occupation date of October 15, 2011 -- when the Occupy Canada movement was launched.

At one point, more than 30 cities across Canada were holding Occupy camps or related events. Occupy St. John's unfortunately had their power supply cut on Wednesday. So far, there has been no attempt by Mayor Dennis O'Keefe to evict the remaining Occupy encampment in Canada.

For Toronto and the rest of Canada, sights seem set on May as re-occupation month.

The Occupy Parliament - Take the Peoples' House Back For the People  movement has set May 5, 2012, as the date to re-Occupy the city of Ottawa.

In their statement: "Occupy Canada will lead you to Ottawa, to stand by the thousands, on May 5th, 2012 in order to DEMAND that our government begin to respect the well-being of the people, and not merely the well-being of the wealthy elite and corporations."

Feel free to join in the babble conversation regarding the future of Occupy Canada here.

We'll have to see what new growth Spring will bring.

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