Eight-year-old Nathaniel Thomas Brandt Price holds a sign at the Occupy Victoria protest at Centennial Square. More than a thousand protesters gathered in the square before marching on Douglas street blocking intersections on the way to the Legislature.

Eight-year-old Nathaniel Thomas Brandt Price holds a sign at the Occupy Victoria protest at Centennial Square. More than a thousand protesters gathered in the square before marching on Douglas street blocking intersections on the way to the Legislature.

Victoria mayor praised by Occupy Victoria protesters

They say Dean Fortin could easily have used his power to order police to disrupt two Occupy Victoria protests



Occupy Victoria protesters have praised Mayor Dean Fortin for not calling on police to clamp down on their movement which has resulted in a small tent city set up at City Hall in Centennial Square – and for not having opposed a demonstration and march through downtown Victoria on Saturday by more than 1,000 people.

And they applaud Victoria police for not harassing them.

They said the mayor could easily have used his power to order police to disrupt two Occupy Victoria protests – the downtown protest by the recently founded People’s Assembly of Victoria and a similar demonstration by another group called We Are Change Victoria, on the Legislative grounds earlier the same day and attended by about 300 people.

“The mayor being on side is huge,” said Anushka Nagji, 25, one of the People’s Assembly organizers and a University of Victoria law student who graduates in April. “He has a lot of power and was in a position to allow or not allow it to happen.”

She said she is “heartened” at the friendly police attitude towards the Occupy Victoria protesters.

Fellow organizer Rob Rao, 34, said Fortin could have called in police to evict the campers because of a city bylaw that says tents and other temporary structures put up public parks can only stay in place between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and must then be dismantled.

He said although nobody is “naïve” about the role police play in maintaining public order, they are “nice guys” when dealing with Occupy Victoria participants.

Rao said the overwhelming majority of people involved in Saturday’s demonstration were individuals who said they would not normally get involved in public protest but are increasingly upset at corporate and bank control of the economy that is crushing jobs, destroying social programs, and telling governments what to do.

Josh Steffler, spokesman for the We Are Change Victoria which is not tied to the People’s Assembly on philosophical grounds, said Fortin was correct in allowing Occupy Victoria to proceed without interference.

“It would have been easy for him to say ‘No. They don’t have a permit (for Saturday’s protest and the tent city)” and tell the police ‘please remove them’.”

Greg Hill, 26, another We Are Change spokesperson agreed. “He (Fortin) definitely could have shut it down.”

Steffler said  his group is considering closer ties with the People’s Assembly even though they are too anti-capitalist for his group’s liking.

He said free enterprise and capitalism are the foundation of modern democracy but ways must be found of destroying the power and influence of large corporations that control Wall Street and dictate how the economy and governments are run.

He claims the People’s Assembly appears to be overly influenced by individuals who oppose any sort of capitalism, but admits this is not necessarily etched in stone.

The People’s Assembly set up more than a dozen tents across the square on Saturday night and have served notice they might remain for several weeks if not months or when the movement accomplishes its goals or exhausts itself. Occupy Victoria is part of a growing global protest against big banks, corporations and greed that is hitting cities across Europe and North America – including 15 Canadian cities.

Nagji  and Rao said they are thankful Fortin has supported their movement since its beginning early in October when a couple of dozen organizers regularly got together at Centennial Square and began planning Occupy Victoria – often with police within ear shot but not interfering.

Rao said free breakfast and supper donated by Occupy Victoria supporters are provided to the Centennial Square campers, and a first aid tent has been set up to deal with medical problems that might occur.

He said the People’s Assembly is planning to set up a credit union account to accept cash donations to help defray any costs encountered.

Although no federal or provincial government MLAs participated in either Occupy Victoria protest Saturday, former provincial NDP leader Carole James, MLA Maureen Karagianus (NDP Esquimalt-Royal Roads) and MP Ron Garrison (NDP Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca) were at the three-hour demonstration on the Legislative grounds while Victoria NDP MP Denise Savoie participated in the Centennial Square protest.

Provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix earlier threw his support behind Occupy Victoria, he did not participate.

 

Just Posted

Rachel Rivera (left) and Claire Ouchi are a dynamic art duo known as the WKNDRS. The two painted the new road mural at Uptown. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Artistic mural at Uptown brings creativity, fun to summer shoppers in Saanich

Road installation the largest of its kind in Greater Victoria

Kathy and Doug LaFortune stand next to the new welcome pole now gracing the front entrance of KELSET Elementary School in North Saanich. LaFortune completed the piece after suffering a stroke with the help of his wife and son Bear. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
KELSET school in North Saanich unveils welcome pole on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Carver Doug LaFortune completed pole with the help of his son, wife after suffering a stroke

Victoria police continue to look for missing man Tyrone Goertzen and are once again asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police put out another call for help finding missing man

Tyrone Goertzen, 33, was first reported missing June 4

Colwood council is looking at potential summer weekend closures to traffic of a section of Ocean Boulevard at Esquimalt Lagoon, to allow for more of a park-like setting during summer events such as the popular Eats & Beats event, shown here in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Mayor lobbying for summer weekend closures of beachfront Colwood roadway

Rob Martin to bring motion forward to June 28 council meeting

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Most Read