Occupy camp gone, but activists plan to continue campaign

Occupy Fredericton's camp was still standing in Phoenix Square on Nov. 21, 2011. (Shane Magee/AQ)

By the time Occupy Fredericton protesters posted on Facebook that their camp was being taken down early on Jan. 3, it was already too late.

By that point, nothing could be done to save the camp, which was due to be taken down after Jan. 1 by order of city council.

The camp had become a hot topic among city councillors and residents alike, often cited as being unnecessary and an eyesore.

Matthew Hayes, an assistant sociology professor at St. Thomas University and frequent occupier, said while he supported those who believe the camp needed to stay as a symbol of the activist movement, it was not a necessity to advancing their causes.

Hayes also doesn’t agree with the reason why the city tore down the occupiers’ camp.

“I think the statement that it was an eyesore is a classist argument. I think that the parking lots downtown are an eyesore…I just don’t think it was necessary to do that.”

Three occupiers were on hand at the time of its destruction.

Later that day, Mayor Brad Woodside posted on Twitter:

“Occupy Fredericton was dismantled without incident this morning. Start time 5 a.m, finish time 5:17 a.m.”

One police officer oversaw the operation as city workers tore down the structure without using force. The disgruntled occupiers co-operated, out-numbered by those sent to take down their shelter.

Occupy Fredericton protesters and their camp were removed from Phoenix Square. (Tom Bateman/AQ)

One of the occupiers struggled to get himself and his possessions out of the makeshift tent, as the others looked on, at least one of whom recorded a video of the incident.

In the video, one occupier is hit by a support beam as the building was torn down around him.

According to the Occupy Fredericton Facebook page, the occupiers will be pursuing legal action against the city.

But that does not mean that the local movement, one of the very few remaining in Canada, is ceasing operations.

How the activists choose to continue promoting their various causes is still up in the air, largely due to their leaderless structure.

“There are obviously a number of different positions on how to move forward, and there are a lot of different people who want to move it forward in a lot of different ways,” Hayes said.

“I hope that the people who want to move it forward are willing to cooperate with one another to make it successful.”

As for his part, Hayes is organizing what he calls a “spin-off” of the teach-in sessions offered by Occupy Fredericton.

While his plans are not yet finalized, he is preparing a lecture series featuring UNB and STU professors, as well as activists within the community.

He said the teach-ins offered information that many found essential and is not available in a school curriculum.

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  • Show Comments (1)

  • kinda piss off

    so they were what we commonly call squatters

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