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Activist Communiqué: Occupy Winnipeg, Occupy Ottawa and Occupy Montreal re-occupied

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Here's news from recent occupations in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal.

Occupy Winnipeg:

Occupy Winnipeg set up a temporary camp in the Exchange District of Winnipeg on Thursday May 10, 2012 as a celebration of resistance and stayed the night.

More than a dozen people erected a few tents in Old Market Square for one evening in defiance of City of Winnipeg city bylaws that forbids the erecting of tents on city owned property. That said, the camp was able to remain throughout the night without police intervention.

"The mayor supports the right of people to voice their opinions and recognizes Occupy Winnipeg intends to spend one night at Old Market Square," a spokesperson for Mayor Sam Katz said in an email to the CBC.

The decision to hold a one day occupation was made on May Day at an Occupy Winnipeg General Assembly (GA) where consensus was reached to occupy Old Market Square even for, "just one night".

While the original Occupy Winnipeg camp was established on Saturday October 15, 2012, in Memorial Park and lasted for roughly two months - one of the longest running Occupy cities - Occupy Winnipeg seems to be following the lead of Occupy Toronto is choosing shorter term, more targeted encampments.


Occupied Ottawa:

Occupied Ottawa (formerly Occupy Ottawa) last week announced plans for its first big event this spring. On Saturday May 12, 2012, at 3:00 pm, an Occupied Ottawa march began at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights (Corner of Elgin Street and Lisgar Street) and headed to a secret occupation site.

Occupied Ottawa members marched from the Human Rights Monument through the downtown core to the Gardens of the Provinces and Territories (National Commission Park) near the Lebreton Flats on Saturday night. Activists stayed in the park without police involvement until around 10:00 pm after Ottawa police told demonstrators they could not erect tents overnight.

According to an Occupied Ottawa press release: "On Saturday, May 12, Occupied Ottawa will be back in the streets and the parks, asserting that we have the right to protest, organize and resist in public space."
"Occupied Ottawa has decided to continue to use public space again this spring, after having been forcibly evicted by the Ottawa Police last November," said Squid Murgatroyd in an interview with rabble.ca.

Andy Crosby, of the Ottawa Working Group of the Media Coop, reported that, "Mayor Jim Watson has already warned the local movement that if they occupy a public park the city will use police force to carry out an immediate eviction".

Crosby also reported, "Ottawa police, whose anti-riot division recently trained at the Canadian military base in Petawawa, are bracing for what they call a summer of protest violence, citing incidents from the over three-month old Quebec student strike still in progress."

In Occupied Ottawa's call out, it states, "A majority has allowed the Harper government to lay down radically oppressive policies, without any opposition, oversight, or review. But this creates an opportunity for mass resistance, through the ongoing "Occupy" movement and others like the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and No One Is Illegal, as well as Unions and Anti-Racist, Indigenous, Feminist, Queer and Trans groups, to name just a few."

Occupied Ottawa began on Saturday October 15, 2011, when they established their camp at Confederation Park and remained on site for 39 days until evicted by police.


Occupy Montreal:

Occupy Montreal has been hosting a four day event called "Journées d'actions populaires pout un printemps érable et global", or JAPPEL for short. As part of JAPPEL, activists in solidarity with the Maple Spring called for an Occupy Montreal event at Victoria Square.

JAPPEL calls, "to occupy symbolic public spaces from May 12 -15, 2012, to protest social injustice.
JAPPEL's organizers made it clear early on that activists were discouraged from bringing tents for an overnight stay in the park. The event is more of a forum, they say, for people involved in various social movements - including the ongoing student strike action, environmental causes and the Occupy movement - to gather and discuss, exchange and act together".

There was a light police presence during the day as Occupy Montreal activists held workshops and ran a community kitchen from the square.

More than 200 activists attended the Occupy Montreal event as part of JAPPEL. A few Occupy Montreal activists were determined to stay in the square overnight and they were swept out of the park by police. Four people were reportedly arrested during the confrontration.

City of Montreal spokesperson, Martine Painchaud, told CJAD News, "the Tremblay administration and the Montreal police department have agreed that camping out in public areas and in parks will not be tolerated and neither will sleeping in such spaces under the stars or in tents. She said it'll be up to the police how and when to enforce that."


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