Good. Saves me driving down to Seattle. Thanks to Krystael.
Wall Street protests spreading to Canada
Postmedia News October 2, 2011
Organizers of a protest slated to take place on Toronto’s Bay Street later this month say they’re following in the footsteps of American activists who have stormed Wall Street in New York and other U.S. cities in a rally against the global financial system.
Hundreds of people are expected to meet in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, at the intersection of Bay and King streets, on Oct. 15 to prepare for a march two days later as the Toronto Stock Exchange opens that Monday.
Occupy Toronto organizers say they anticipate the protests will roll into the week as the Occupy Wall Street rally in New York enters its third week without any hints of slowing down.
In New York during the weekend, more than 700 protesters were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge as they defied police and stalled traffic.
Occupy Wall Street began with a call to action on the blog of Vancouver-based advocacy magazine, Adbusters, in July. On Sept. 17, protesters began occupying a park near the New York Stock Exchange.
“We’re the people who catalyzed this thing, but we’re not the people who are running it,” said Adbusters co-founder Kalle Lasn. “The people on the streets who have the guts to sleep out there night after night, those are the people who are really driving it.”
The movement could culminate at the beginning of November where protesters could demand a “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions from G20 leaders meeting in France, Lasn said.
“The people of the world will rise up and say we want to have a one per cent tax on all financial transactions and we want to have a say on where that money’s spent,” Lasn said.
He predicts the protests in Canada will be more subdued because of the Canadian economy’s relative strength, but, he cautioned, young Canadians are “just as vulnerable and just as worried about their future” as their American counterparts.
The protesters say they are taking their cue from the pro-democracy movements of the Arab Spring that has sprung up across North Africa and the Middle East. They are planning to return to Wall Street on Wednesday.
Canadian protests are also being arranged in Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, Ottawa, Montreal, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, according to another website, Occupy Together.
Organizers have asked activists to bring tarps, thermal blankets, sleeping bags, first aid kits and electrical generators to prepare for what could be a weeks-long stakeout akin the actions of protesters in the U.S.
An “indefinite occupation” of Vancouver’s Art Gallery has been scheduled for Oct. 15, with online organizers telling activists bring their tents and sleeping bags.
“It is time to come together and educate each other. We will stand in solidarity with these other movements and we will create a platform for people to speak and . . . provide an audience that will listen,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.
“Let them gawk, let them ask questions, let them wake up.”
Min Reyes, one of the Vancouver demonstration’s organizers, said “it was only a matter of time” before the protest came to Vancouver.
“I knew as soon as I saw the first uprising in Tunisia it was going to pick up,” said Reyes.
“We are not anarchist, we are just everyday Canadians — students, lawyers, people from everyday life.”
As for the birthplace of Adbusters and Greenpeace, Lasn said events in Vancouver could play an important role in the increasingly global movement.
“If there’s going to be a Tahrir (Square) moment it’s going to happen right here in Vancouver,” Lasn said. “Underneath the sunny facade, Vancouver has a really revolutionary spirit about it.”
The Occupy Together website notes that other rallies have been planned around the world, from around the United States into Mexico and dozens of European countries.
“We are the majority. We are the 99 per cent. And we will no longer be silent,” Occupy Wall Street said in a statement. “We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of non-violence to maximize the safety of all participants.”
During the weekend, similar protests broke out in several U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Boston and Albuquerque, New Mexico. In Boston, 24 protesters were arrested. They face trespassing charges after a march on a Bank of America building.
One estimate said the Boston protest attracted 3,000 demonstrators.
With files from the Vancouver Sun
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