The call-out for this Occupy London (Ontario) protest simply said -
“We are taking aim at the banks with this action. Meeting at Covent Market west side entrance @ 4pm, then move on to downtown banks to express our opposition to the predatory financial institutions and the economic system that holds down the working class.”
Around the same time, there also was a meditation circle here in London today — which also was in solidarity with the occupation movement.
Here are some brief notes about our banks action -
Photos here were taken around the London towers for three banking corporations. We had a brief rally inside the RBC office/branch building. The first set of doors at the TD-Dominion tower (the “City Centre”) were locked when we arrived. Protestors laughed at the staff on the other side of the glass. On another side of the building, a staff member locked the doors when a few of us walked over there. But three of us were able to get in through another entrance — which then was locked behind us as we left. By that time, the march had arrived at the Scotiabank tower, which is called “One London Place”. It’s the tallest building in the city.
We also stopped at a BMO branch which wouldn’t let us in, and another TD-Dominion branch down the street locked an entrance as we arrived.
Several police officers were tagging along throughout the protest. The guy with the video camera recorded us the entire time. The police also recorded us during another recent Occupy London march.
Our march passed by a vacant retail space where some of the salvaged items from the evicted occupation site were being made available. A few Occupy London activists already were in there when we arrived, and others went in as the march passed by.
Our occupation has been evicted, but we continue to stand together.
Please join us this Saturday as we rally for democracy. We’ll begin to gather before 2pm, around the Victoria Park gates.
* Fontana must go! *
Occupy London is demanding that mayor Joe Fontana resign, and we are demanding an apology for evicting the occupation.
* Stop the cuts! *
We are standing against privatization, and cuts to government services. Mayor Fontana has been supporting that austerity agenda by cosying up to corporations (like EPCOR and Nestle).
We are workers, students, the poor, and immigrants. We are the many people who make up the 99%.
We stand for democratic participation, and peaceful assemblies in public spaces.
Fontana took the lead in stealing the community tents and supplies that we’ve used for the peaceful democratic assembly at the occupation site. Fontana is siding with the 1% — against the rest of us.
This Saturday, we ask everyone to join us in occupying our streets.
(Please note: this call-out is from members of Occupy London who are trying to capture discussion at the Wednesday afternoon general assembly. These words haven’t been ran by people at an Occupy London meeting — yet. The next assembly was moved to Friday night at 6pm, to give occupiers time to recover from the eviction.)
[Update: We didn't get around to approving a final version of that before the rally.]
The eviction deadline was 6pm that night, and a few of these photos were taken during the rally that evening. One photo shows some of the people who very large tarp covered tents and some supplies. During the rally, people linked their arms together to surround the tarp with a human chain.
On Wednesday, November 9th around 12:30am, the police raided the park, to destroy belongings (in garbage trucks), to take tents and supplies, and to try to pressure everyone out.
Occupy London received eviction notices on November 8th. There was an official press conference, and many “notice and order” papers were taped at the occupation site (on all of the tents, on street poles in the park, on the occupation porta-potty, etc).
I sent the following statement to the London, Ontario mayor, and to the city councillors. These words were e-mailed in to those officials about 9 hours before the occupation site was forcibly evicted.
Please respect the Occupy London safe space statement:
“Everyone has a right to feel safe and valuable. Safe space is a communal responsibility. It means being safe from sexual harassment, physical assault, verbal threat and abuse, racism, sexism, colonialism, classism, ablism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of oppression. We encourage the whole assembly to develop their own sense of what a safe space society would look and feel like. We encourage everyone to be conscious and respectful to the safety of others.”
He also mentions:
- The World Health Organization (WHO)’s findings that Sarnia has the worst particulate pollution in Canada
- TODA’s water pollution
- The now inactive, and possibly dead, Lambton Community Health Study
- Free toxic tours around Chemical Valley
This interview follows up another one in which Zak gives updates about how shale gas will be or might be used around Sarnia-Lambton’s Chemical Valley.
Many of these topics had come up in conversation; we then decided to to record some of what Zak has to say about the situations around where he lives.
Nova Chemicals in October, 2011. Photo by Dallas Sinopole.
In this interview, Zak speaks about:
- Nova Chemicals, and how this company plans to use shale gas — for decades
- A related BioAmber facility which will be processing a substance that is similar to the GHB rape drug
- Labour concessions which are connected with these projects
- The Lambton Generating Station, and the possibility that it will be burning ‘natural’ gas (shale gas?) in the future
This is the facility where “Clean Harbors” handles petro-chemical wastes from other industries around this area of Lambton county -
The company that likes to be known as “Clean Harbors” burns toxic wastes at this location. As they say on their web site, they incinerate “hazardous waste” that comes to them “in liquid form.”
This company also points out how “the Lambton Facility is the only licensed, integrated hazardous waste management facility within Ontario. In fact, due to the high capital investment and specialized operating requirements … , there are relatively few, comparable facilities in North America.” The other Chemical Valley industries around Sarnia-Lambton have plenty of hazardous waste to get rid of, so “Clean Harbors” also buries wastes underground. They take in waste from other industries as well.
Being car free helps us to be free from tar sands impacts. In the meantime, we are becoming more and more dependent on dirtier and more expensive fossil fuel sources — including Alberta’s tar sands. Relative to conventional oil, tar sands crude has far more intense climate impacts, and the extraction of tar sands drains and pollutes immense amounts of fresh water. There are many terrible impacts.
At the zombie walk, we used a “Turtle Island” tailings pond to catch our oily run-off, before and after the walk.
Across the street we taped up a banner that calls for a better world, where banks don’t invest in tar sands operations. We had this banner up in front of a TD – Canada Trust building.
In addition to photos in the set shown below, more photos from the zombie walk are posted here.