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.”
Fracking is a toxic, dangerous, and wasteful form of natural gas extraction that we may see around London, Ontario. The water pollution is the worst of the fracking impacts. Tap water has become flammable after fracking is done to break gas out of nearby shale rock. A stew of toxic chemicals is pumped into each gas well, and radium is one of many underground substances that can be unintentionally released during this extraction.
In spite of all of those dangers, there are plans for shale gas exploration around London - http://stopfrackingontario.wordpress.com/fracking/in-ontario/london/
In addition to water contamination, we also should be concerned about explosion risks, air pollution, water depletion, methane greenhouse gas releases, earthquakes, increased truck traffic, and deforestation.
If you are worried about all of these threats from fracking, please come out to this rally to show your concern, and learn more about what we are up against.
Two sets of photos from the protest can be seen here (on Facebook) and here (on Flickr).
The shale gas conference was about profits that corporations could gain by securing U.S. gas exports for the petro-chemical industries in Sarnia-Lambton. On the Ontario side of the border, those arrangements basically would come down to keeping the Chemical Valley status quo going, with possible savings for the companies purchasing gas supplies from U.S. shale (at least until Ontario shale gas is made available).
Industry representatives travelled out to their closed-door conference from more than one province, and from multiple U.S. states. They came in to support and extend the hype about fracking ‘benefits without trade-offs.’ This spin was about imports from states around West Virginia, but the same points will be made about Ontario fracking, arranged by the same industry players, who will try to profit from shale gas here. Yet, fracking could be done in Ontario to export gas to the United States, or to the Alberta tar sands.
Videos from our rally are posted on Facebook — here and here.
Some more photos from our protest can be seen here, here, and here.
A mile-long vapour cloud was released from ESSO / Imperial Oil on Tuesday, May 17th. No emergency siren was sounded after this blue-ish grey cloud drifted away from the plant. At first, Imperial Oil did not publicly take responsibility for the release. When the company did acknowledge that the cloud came from their facilities, they made excuses and said that the cloud was made up of sulphur dioxide which was supposed to have been completely non-toxic.
The Observer reported that:
St. Clair Township Fire Chief Roy Dewhirst was one of those who witnessed the blue/gray plume as it wafted over Mooretown, which he described as a low-flying cloud carried on north winds. …
“It was fairly fast moving. It went on down south. It had kind of a crude-oily smell,” he said.
The plume was seen by people as far north as the Lambton Fire School, Lanxess and Provident Energy.
We responded to all of this a very small rally on a busier street corner. Our smallest sign said “Demand more from City Hall”.
For April 20th, activists in London, Ontario, Canada gathered for a bike rally; and many of us joined a “public participation” event at city hall, immediately afterwards. The critical mass bike rally was held to join the Day of Action Against Extraction, and the municipal meeting afterwards was about Wal-Mart plans for a “SmartCentre” around an environmentally sensitive area known as the Meadowlily Woods.
During our bike rally, we returned to a Shell station where we had a protest in October, 2010. Those October and April gas station protests were about the worldwide impacts of extractive industries.
The ride was our first local critical mass rally this year. Climate Justice London called the bike rally, with support from the People for Peace (London), and other local activists.
Here‘s a video from our latest rally against extraction.
Zak speaks about his role in campaigning alongside others in Sarnia and Aamjiwnaang. He talks about local pollution impacts, complacency from government officials and the general public, local indigenous struggles, obstacles in the way of uncovering information about petro-chemical industry operations, and some other related issues.