Queen's University — Since 1873
25th October 2011

Protests progress

Occupy Kingston protestors march at a rally held on Friday.
Occupy Kingston protestors march at a rally held on Friday. (Corey Lablans)

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Though they’re in violation of a city bylaw, Occupy Kingston protestors continue to camp in Confederation Park.

Mayor Mark Gerretsen said City Council has no plans to remove the protestors.

“At this time I don’t think there’s place to do anything when it comes to removing anybody,” he said.

Occupy Kingston protestors are technically breaking a bylaw that prohibits camping in city parks.

The Occupy movement came to Kingston on Oct. 15. Starting on Wall Street, participants in the Occupy movement are protesting global inequality.

At least 30 people gathered on Friday to participate in a second Princess Street march — the first took place Oct. 15.

Many of the demands of protestors participating in Occupy movements worldwide cannot be met by city officials, Gerretsen said.

“The municipal government does not have a large role to play in this,” he said. “That stuff is regulated by the federal government, not the municipal government.”

Since Occupy Kingston began, protestors have created initiatives, including non-violent communication workshops and yoga, to help raise awareness and maintain support for the movement.

St. Lawrence College student Joshua Mousey, said the movement calls for a paradigm shift in people’s way of thinking.

“That’s what the occupation is for, to give a safe meeting place for people who want to discuss those ideas.” he said.

Although the amount of people camping out at Confederation Park is minimal, averaging three to four people per night, Mousey said many supporters stop in during the day.

The support from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, he said. Campers are living off donations from Kingston locals, and the City has provided electricity and bathrooms, which are usually closed for the winter.

“In terms of cooperation from the City, it’s been incredible … we’ve had people from all walks of life,” Mousey said.

The campers have dubbed their shelter The People’s Tent and have unofficially renamed Confederation Park as The People’s Park.

Alex Hanes, a Kingston local, was covering Occupy Kingston as a contributor to Operation Maple. According to its website, Operation Maple offers “short, hard hitting videos that put you smack in the middle of issues that affect Canadians.”

Hanes said Operation Maple also tries to incorporate comedy into their videos.

Operation Maple has been covering Occupy Toronto as well.

“The most important thing that can come from this is just more awareness … that’s really important to the democratic process, which we don’t have much of in this country,” Hanes said.

Attendees from spiritual movement Hare Krishna sang and played a variety of instruments at the Friday meeting.

Jeff Greydanus, from the Hare Krishna group, said he hopes the Occupy movement will make Canadian citizens move away from materialism.

“We see that … this world that we’re living in is materially-minded right now. They’re looking to satisfy themselves with temporary things,” he said. “There’s a spiritual alternative in which someone can really be satisfied at their heart with simple things in life.”

— With files from Katherine Fermamdez-Blance

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