Occupy Nanaimo plans to regroup

City followed through on an injunction Friday as protesters leave peacefully.

The Occupy Nanaimo movement is homeless after the city followed through on an injunction to remove the protesters from Diana Krall Plaza late Friday.

Randy Churchill, the city’s manager for bylaws, said the protesters left peacefully and without incident under the watch of RCMP and city bylaw officials.

“There may have been some delay, but generally people there were respectful and got on with the process of removing their belongings,” said Churchill.

The B.C. Supreme Court approved the city’s request for an injunction to have the protesters removed Friday morning. City council and staff have acknowledged the occupiers’ right to freedom of expression, but noted the city has no appetite for contravention of bylaws.

There was also increasing concern over escalating violations of the Criminal Code, including disturbances, theft, missing persons reports and liquor act violations.

Since Nov. 21, there were 21 calls for the RCMP and eight calls to Nanaimo Fire Rescue, one of them to deal with a hypothermic occupier, according to a release issued by the city.

In the end, Occupy Nanaimo was ousted because a city bylaw does not allow for tent structures overnight in public parks or open spaces.

Many of the occupiers were living at the plaza since Oct. 15, two weeks after Occupy Wall Street sparked similar protests around North America.

Now without shelters, Occupy Nanaimo has indicated it will rotate occupiers in shifts at the plaza, though on Monday morning only one occupier, Robin Roberts, held vigil for what occupiers refer to as “the revolution”.

“We’re in the process of securing office space we’ll be able to work from,” said Roberts. “We’re not done. This is still going on, this was just the first step.”

He said the office space will be used as a resource centre to help people and to continue the opposition to corporate greed and other social injustices.

Through social media, Occupy Nanaimo indicated it would hold a protest at both B.C. Ferry terminals in Nanaimo Monday morning, but there was no sign of any action at either place.

At Diana Krall Plaza, Churchill said the city will assess the damage left by the camp.

“There is damage there in terms of wear and tear on the stones and at least one graffiti on the library wall that’s been there for quite a while,” said Churchill. “Other graffiti will have to be removed, but fortunately a lot of it is in chalk, but some of it is permanent and will have to be removed.”

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com

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