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"Make the Rich Pay"

Occupy Ottawa takes streets again, further actions planned

by Andy Crosby

March gets green light, right on Elgin. Photo by Andy Crosby
March gets green light, right on Elgin. Photo by Andy Crosby
Calls for a Safe Space. Photo by Andy Crosby
Calls for a Safe Space. Photo by Andy Crosby
Rally returns to tent city. Photo by Adam Dietrich
Rally returns to tent city. Photo by Adam Dietrich
Man raises fist in solidarity. Photo by Andy Crosby
Man raises fist in solidarity. Photo by Andy Crosby

The “Occupy” Ottawa movement took to the streets for the second time on Wednesday evening, Oct. 19. Over 200 protesters marched from the tent city occupation at Confederation Park down Rideau Street past Parliament Hill before returning to the Sheraton Hotel on Albert Street. Inside the hotel, the Canadian International Council (CIC) hosted a panel discussion on deeper integration between Canada and the US.

As the march weaved its way through the downtown, some onlookers waved while others raised their fists in a show of solidarity. Honks from passing drivers drew cheers amongst the demonstration. Participants in the rally encouraged people leaving work and waiting at bus stops to join them. Many did, wearing their nametags and work clothes.

A young man, dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase, hopped off the bus on his way home to join the festive crowd. “I saw the people out on the streets and it’s an issue I’ve been following, he told the Media Coop. “I think anyone who recognizes that the system isn’t quite perfect and there’s room for improvement should come out and show their support.” He wished to remain anonymous and not reveal his employer.

The considerably diverse crowd, ranging from families with infants to seniors, delivered their messages in English and French. Although the movement has taken flack from the mainstream and corporate media for not having a clear set of demands, the messages remain both diverse and clear in the processes taking place to make the change they wish to see.

Like many of the 99 percent, the man joining the march was interested in different yet interconnected issues. “I wouldn’t even know where to start," he admitted amidst the boisterous procession, “whether it’s reforming the global financial system or evening things out for people around the world, there’s too much to tackle.” Many have linked government corruption and corporate greed to rising poverty, environmental degradation, and war.

Outside the hotel, protestors chanted, “Tax the rich”, and “Sell yourself to Wall Street,” linking those they were confronting in Ottawa to the birthplace of Occupy Wall Street in New York last month. The movement has drawn its inspiration from the Arab World to Europe, where thousands of “the indignant” continue to hold large scale demonstrations in Spain and in Greece. Today in Athens, a general strike continued and upwards of 100,000 clashed with riot police outside Parliament as lawmakers prepared to vote on an EU and IMF-directed austerity package that will inevitably sink more people into poverty.

Back at the tent city occupation at Confederation Park, where over 50 tents are now set up, a general assembly was held for the fifth straight day. The general assemblies are held nightly at 6:30 pm with daily morning meetings for those unable to attend in the evening to get their concerns and proposals on the agenda. Occupy Ottawa, like many other occupations, uses a consensus-based decision-making model that facilitator Ben Powless referred to on Saturday as, “radically democratic.”

On Wednesday, the general assembly voted to support the Air Canada flight attendants at Parliament Hill rally at noon on Friday, Oct. 21.

Also on Wednesday evening, two workshops were held after the general assembly, including Anti-Racism, Direct Action and the Responsibilities of White Communities, and The Community Kitchen as a Means of Resisting Capitalism.

In an attempt to make the occupation site safer, the general assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday stating, "Everyone is welcome! Sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, ageism, gender oppression, misogyny, or other oppressions is not. Make this space safe(r) for everyone! Respect everyone."

Plans for more direct actions and demonstrations are in the making. These include a Zombie Walk on Oct. 22, and a global day of action on Oct. 29 on the eve of the G20 meetings in France.

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Topics: Solidarity
629 words


Friendly amendment - the

Friendly amendment - the chant was "You're selling us out to Wall street!", also 'US ties ruin lives' :)

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