While Occupy Montrealers were forced to leave the public square that has been their home for over a month on Friday morning, the protesters have already made plans to return to demonstrate against their eviction.
Montreal police officers in both regular uniform and riot gear arrived on the scene at 9 a.m., telling the residents of the tent-village to pack up and get out.
Officers apprehended around 16 activists who had tied themselves to the village’s food tent. They were photographed and banned from the premises for 24 hours, then released at VendÃ´me Metro station where police paid for their STM fares and sent them on their way.
Participants are saying the movement is only gaining momentum. They will demonstrate on Saturday at 12 p.m. in Victoria Square to protest Friday’s eviction.
“The eviction has not ended the movement,” said activist Natasha Hynes. “The camps are not the [entire] movement, they are a symbol. The camps were just a step to get people together for action.”
“The camp worked,” agreed Marc LaramÃ©e. The activist is a founding member of the Organization for the Defense of Political Prisoners (ODPP), which was created in response to a wave of arrests during the G20 summit in Toronto in June of last year. “People got to know each other and talk about problems and realize that we can organize and govern ourselves,” LaramÃ©eÂ said. “Now we’re going to step back and do something bigger.”
The organizers of Saturday’s rally say the eviction was the start of the movement’s transition from ‘Phase Two’ to ‘Phase Three.’
“Phase One was about raising awareness,” said member Felix St-Laurent. “Phase Two was [building and running] the camp, meeting [local] activists, sharing ideas and getting organized. Phase Three is going to be about taking real action.”
Activists highlighted attempts by Occupy Wall Street protesters to ‘occupy’ the New York Stock Exchange after being evicted from Zuccotti Park as the type of action to expect from Occupy Montreal in the near future.
“Big huge public demonstrations. That’s what Phase Three is all about,” said Jay, a protester who declined to give his last name.
The Montreal segment of the movement is not the first to be forced to leave their respective sites of protest. ‘Occupy’ villages in Quebec City, Toronto, Calgary and Victoria have all been dismantled in the past week.
Those organizing tomorrow’s rally have established a livestream and are taking questions from the general public online atÂ www.livestream.com/