Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupy Toronto Eviction and St James Park Cleanup

The end of the 24/7 Occupy #Toronto campsite in St James Park was started today and many are pointing out the lack of violence, on all sides, is something that Toronto can be proud of. The police have seen the damage caused by over reactions in recent incidents, from our own G20 adventures, the pepper spraying of sitting protesters at an American University, the tear gas and flash grenades fired in Oakland, and have decided to leave the riot gear and batons in storage while the protesters wanted to maintain their non-violent defiance. A bicycle officer stands beside the crowd on Bay Street during the start of the Occupy Toronto movement on October 15, 2011, in the photo at top, looking remarkably like Julia Roberts studying for a role in an upcoming protest movie.
99% AWE-SOME by Gregory Alan Elliott

This is not the end of protests as twitter is full of plans to continue the Occupy Toronto and Occupy Bay Street movements, good for them. Maybe they can find and broadcast a message that will make the world a better place for both the 99% and the 1%. I think that a protest that relies on confrontation for support is only worthy of a protest against brutality. The protest that relies on aggressive, homeless youth or anarchists to carry the message does not represent the majority of Canadians. 

City of Toronto media release on today's occupation (November 23, 2011; 4:45 p.m. update).

"Just before 7 this morning, City staff entered St. James Park supported by the Toronto Police Service, who asked that protesters cooperate peacefully and remove all tents and structures. They were also asked to refrain from gathering in the park overnight from 12:01 a.m. to 5:30 a.m.

Our goal today was to remove tents and structures so that the park could be made safe for the enjoyment of all residents. A team of over 100 City staff and 30 vehicles from Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Solid Waste, Municipal Licensing and Standards, Fire Services, Emergency Medical Services, Public Health and Shelter, Support and Housing Administration worked together to remove materials from the park. At the same time, City staff and Police worked together to bring this situation to a safe and orderly conclusion."

Mayor Rob Ford was pleased at how peaceful the eviction was proceeding "I would also like to say how proud I am of the professionalism and skill demonstrated by each member of our City of Toronto staff and Toronto Police Service who made this peaceful resolution possible. They have all been working extremely hard since this protest began over a month ago.

Before I conclude, I'd like to note that members of the Occupy Toronto movement have been largely peaceful in their protest – and remained so today. Finally, I'd like to thank the citizens of Toronto, notably the residents and businesses in the area, who have been very patient for the past month."

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