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.”
A mainstream press article recently announced that there would be a 50 person neo-nazi rally at city hall, here in London, Ontario — the following day.
Before the rally, the press repeated police Superintendent Bill Merrylees’ suggestion that anti-hate counter-protestors would create “problems,” while a 50-person neo-nazis rally would not.
A counter-protest rally and pre-meeting were called through word of mouth. Some people came out to that anti-hate rally because they heard about it at a hip hop show the night before the fascist ‘rally’ was supposed to happen.
This was the online call-out -
“COUNTER-PROTEST THE NEO-NAZI RALLY IN FRONT OF CITY HALL TOMORROW AT 1PM. PRE-MEET AT WILLIAM’S CAFE ON RICHMOND & CENTRAL AT NOON. SPREAD THE WORD!”
Since the G20 Summit in Toronto, activists here in London, Ontario (Canada) have organized a series of protests against the Summit policing regime. Below I’ll offer some photos, video links, and written background about our protests. First, here are some points about other campaigning and organizing here in London (Ont.) -
More than anything, activists here have been demanding civil liberties that were attacked at the Summit.
Civil liberties petition signatures have been collected, and a flyer about civil liberties has been distributed here. We have brought copies with us as we have used a projector to display video footage of G20 police brutality on walls for crowds at public events. Here is a post about the first of those projection protests, at a Canada Day fireworks show.
Members of our group took to the streets around the G20 Summit in Toronto with concerns about climate change, the Alberta tar sands, assaults on native sovereignty, and other environmental injustices. The Summit police in Toronto threatened, searched, arrested, and detained Climate Justice London activists, while other local climate justice activists stayed away from Toronto to avoid the G20 police regime. Our dissent was not permitted at the Summit. In fact, anyone who was outdoors in downtown Toronto was a potential target for the snatch squads, the riot cops, the mounted horse brigades, and thousands of other police at the Summit. Our allies and our friends were pulled into this ‘security’ sweep, and all of us are left wondering which of the local police officers we encounter have brought their G20 summit training and hostility back to our cities.
Because we condemn this trampling of civil liberties, and because we always will call for democracy and social justice, members of our group have taken on leading roles in preparing a statement about police conduct and detention conditions at the G20 summit in Toronto. People for Peace (London) activists helped to develop that London-specific version of the original statement from Toronto. We hope that more Londoners will sign on to communicate their support.
Threats to our civil liberties will make it even more difficult to continue campaigning against environmental injustices — in a non-violent manner, without destructive sabotage tactics.
Here in London, Ontario a few of us have produced a local version of a statement from Toronto which was, above all, about G20 police conduct and detention conditions in Toronto during the recent Summit of ‘world leaders’ there. The local statement was prepared by Climate Justice London and People for Peace London. And the following pre-amble (which I’m just re-posting verbatim) explains how this statement is connected with the original one from Toronto -
Local activists have prepared this London, Ontario version of the Toronto statement about police tactics at the G20 Summit there. We believe it is important for Londoners to present a unified voice to demand the civil liberties that were attacked in Toronto.
We invite signatures from anyone living, campaigning, or working in London, Ontario, or elsewhere in the nearby region.
Our statement is an abbreviated version of the original Toronto call – with added points about links between London activists, London police, and the Toronto summit. (These added points are in paragraph three, and demands 6 and 7, at the end of the statement.) The original Toronto statement basically offers a more detailed summary of events in Toronto in late June.
We also have made one addition to the text from the Toronto call. In the following sentence, we have changed the words “harassment by police” to “harassment and sexual violence from police” -
“The reports of those released from detention reveal a pervasive pattern of sexual, gender, trans, homophobic and racist harassment and sexual violence from police.”
Most of the photos are from me. (The ones that I posted are here and here)
There were a various actions against the tar sands that day. People out in London, England even joined the action. Here in Canada, RBC (the Royal Bank of Canada) was the main Fossil Fool target. That bank is the leading financier behind the tar sands.
Compared with other local campaigning against RBC tar sands financing here, there was a lot more tension at the protest at the first RBC bank building we went to on the Fossil Fools day of action. Just leafletting inside an RBC building has been enough to get us into a confrontation (of sorts) with police though. Security staff and police officers always are at hand to defend corporations like RBC by preventing people from voicing concerns on company property.
That said, I still don’t appreciate conflicts (or potential conflicts) with police and security staff. That sort of excitement doesn’t work for me, and I’m generally not hostile towards police officers and security workers. There are a lot of problems police/security systems — given how they are bound up with a much wider status quo — but I don’t find targetting police and security workers to be a productive way of confronting those problems. We’ve got to find ways to change and replace the mainstream systems that employ those people. If there are no dirty banks (for instance), then the police and security forces can’t defend them.
Last week, Nick Griffin — the head of the racist and fascist ‘British National’ Party — was given some air time on BBC’s “Question Period.” There were protests, and a lot of controversy.
Here is some selected coverage and commentary -
Brian Wheeler on the BBC web site -
“What did voters make of Griffin?”
(I’m not exactly recommending that article. I’m just pointing it out because I think it captures how the BBC airtime has tended to feed into the BNP.)