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Activist Communiqué: Occupied Ottawa update, May 2012

This is a guest post from Christophe Elie.

May 1, 2012 - An eventful month at "Occupy Ottawa" saw the General Assembly approve a change of name to "Occupied Ottawa." This discussion began the day the movement began and has been an ongoing discussion in particular in Oakland, Seattle and Toronto.

In Toronto, a Decolonization Statement was issued by the Occupy Toronto Cloud Gardens General Assembly.

The impetus for the change to "Occupied Ottawa" is rooted in the recognition that the word Occupy does have negative connotations, in this country, in particular due to our history. On the other hand there was also an acknowledgement that the name should not dissociate itself from the greater movement. The decision to change the name to "Occupied Ottawa" was passed by the General Assembly on Wednesday April 11.

Discussions continued around outreach and how Occupied Ottawa might best support and work with aligned organizations. There was also considerable scrutiny inward as well, as the movement members considered their place, their role, their ideology as it relates to the movement.

The "Occupied Ottawa" website occupy-ottawa.org that was out of commission for weeks was finally restored and is now the website. Meet the Occupation also landed in Carleton Place for the inaugural Occupy Carleton Place General Assembly. A workshop around Community Organizing took place with Joan Kuyek as well as an Anti-Oppression awareness workshop was organized. For each of these, follow up workshops are being organized.

Weekly protests demanding a Public Inquiry of the Robocall Election fraud scandal continued and continue at noon on Sundays at Parliament Hill.

Obert Modando's hunger strike continues, and as of May 1, Obert is on the 48th day of his hunger strike. His key demands are the repeal of the "Safe Streets and Communities act" and the resignation of former Ottawa Police chief and now Senator Vern White. To see Obert's appeal, view his video or read this blog.

Occupied Ottawa participated in a very dynamic rally on a misty day in April, "The People's Exhibit on Barrick Gold at the Museum of Nature". The rally, included speeches from a representative of Mining Watch, Musical protest from the Raging Grannies and despite poor weather conditions, many activists gathered in front of the Museum of Nature.

The Museum made a decision to accept a donation from Barrick Gold in return the museum named an events room Barrick's Salon. At issue is the contradiction between an institution that celebrates nature and one that pollutes it. For more information on the impacts of mining on the environment visit.

Occupied Ottawa planned a Re-Occupation for Saturday May 12 at 3 p.m. -- Free Parking! Occupied Ottawa Returns! It began with speeches and then a march from the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street. Plans for the "Take back Democracy" OccuConference, scheduled June 1-3 also continue.

General Assemblies continue at Confederation Park on Wednesday's at 7 p.m.
and Sunday's at 2 p.m. Occupied Ottawa remains committed to increasing awareness on the issues of Social Justice, issues that affect our health and the Environment and supporting Ottawa organizations fighting for those who are busy trying to survive.

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