Katie DeRosa: Victoria Police have no plans to evict protesters, nor do protesters have any plans to evict co-opting Globalist socialist Mayor Dino Strauss Bridge Destroyer

Police won’t evict protesters

Centennial Square has become a mini tent city since Saturday

BY KATIE DEROSA, TIMES COLONIST OCTOBER 18, 2011
Police say they've had ongoing dialogue with the Occupy Victoria campers, which is not the case in other cities.

Police say they’ve had ongoing dialogue with the Occupy Victoria campers, which is not the case in other cities.

Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist, Times Colonist

Victoria police say they have no plans to forcibly evict the protesters camping in Centennial Square as part of the Occupy movement that started in Canadian cities last weekend.

A few dozen participants of the People’s Assembly of Victoria (Occupy Victoria) have remained in the downtown square since the rally began Saturday at noon.

Police spokesman Const. Mike Russell said the department has had ongoing dialogue with the protesters and neither the city nor police have set a limit on how long they’ll be able to stay. By letting the tents stay up, officers are not enforcing a bylaw that prohibits camping in city parks between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

“We’re trying to find a solution to the problem, not just, ‘Everyone out and call it a day,’ ” Russell said.

Victoria police are eager to avoid the clashes between police and protesters that were seen in New York City, where the Occupy Wall Street movement began Sept. 17. “We’re trying to strike a balance with people’s right to protest and the bylaw and other people’s ability to use the square,” Russell said.

The square has become a mini tent city with 20 tents as well as couches, flags and personal effects strewn throughout. The small group of protesters – who pass the time holding meetings, eating donated food, reading and playing guitar – say they’re sitting in solidarity with people in 951 cities in 82 countries who are advocating for global financial reform.

“I want to stay here until something actually happens,” 39-year-old Joseph Reville said Sunday. “Until the suits of power are sitting down and talking and thinking about what’s needed to change.”

Victoria police is carefully watching law enforcement in other Canadian cities, especially Vancouver, to see how they deal with the Occupy movement, Russell said.

He said the department is fortunate to have a dialogue with protesters in Victoria, which is not the case in other cities. Patrol officers from the Focused Enforcement Team are monitoring the activities in Centennial Square, but additional officers have not been needed, other than for the 800-person rally on Saturday.

The department has not received complaints from citizens that access to the square is being impeded, Russell said.

“We’re trying to make sure this space can be used by everybody at all times.”

kderosa@timescolonist.com

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
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