Occupy Toronto Re-Occupies Osgoode Hall!

I was at the Grange Park on Sunday evening talking with the homeless occupiers about their plans to move- as posted on the above eviction notice, they had to move-out the next day. The told my they were planning to re-occupy the space they were at in January & February- behind Osgoode Hall.

An occupier sweeping the grounds at the Grange Park

Thinking that there may be some challenges to re-occupying a previously used space, I offered to contact an activist-friendly lawyer and see if I could get some advice. She and I spoke shortly after- this sort of issue is not her speciality- but, she had agreed to try and help me identify someone with the right experience. I got the contact from her yesterday evening, but we haven’t connected yet- partially because I was busy dealing with last night’s circus at the General Assembly. (which I will write about soon)

Tents that were pitched behind Osgoode Hall

I got a call this morning at 10:30 from one of the homeless occupiers- they needed my immediate assistance. So, naturally, I got out of the house as quickly as I could and made my way down to see them. When I arrived, there were already a number of occupiers and police on the scene.

The police, waiting on the sidelines…

Shortly after I arrived, and got an update from the occupiers, I went to the police to get their side of the story. I asked if they had documentation (they showed a paper dated Jan 19th to the occupiers a short while before) and they told me that they were waiting on it. I told them that we are waiting to get in-contact with our council, and would appreciate they wait for that- I also mentioned that they had better be 100% certain that, if they evicted the occupiers, that they were certain it was legal…

About a half-hour later they came to us and began to explain that the occupiers were ‘trespassing’ and must immediately leave. Here’s a video I took of the interaction:

As you see, we were entirely polite, but did our best to stand our ground. We took a break while the ‘property manager’ went to find a way to prove his authority to make this request. He then huddled with the police and came back for round two:

I feel a lot of empathy for the police and the property manager, they had a hard job jousting with us- we occupiers are a smart bunch of cookies! But, equally, it was highly uncomfortable to see them being so manipulative. And, when the lead cop made a threat to arrest me, he was definitely crossing the line!

We came to an amicable solution (for the moment) that we could stay as long as the tents were taken down. That said, the only restrictions for use of the space were ‘no skateboarding or on-line skating’, there was no mention about camping- we’ll have to ask our council on this technicality.

Occupiers huddled together discussing strategy

After the conversation, I went on livestream and shared with the police that I was genuinely sorry they were put in the middle of this situation. We know they aren’t the enemy, only the messenger. I also told them why I occupy- because I can’t afford to take care of my parents once their pensions fail. I also mentioned that we are equally there for their pensions…

They asked me about what all the fuss was with Alex Hundert, I explained how Alex was one of the planners for the violence at the G20, and a well known cop baiter/hater. I apologized for his behaviour, and explained that the occupy movement is not about hating the police- but about loving the 99%!

The occupier’s tents as they are being disassembled

So, in the end, the occupiers took down their tents, and they have vowed to keep the space. I’m still waiting for contact from the lawyer- but, rest assured, we haven’t given up on the effort to put up tents there. I will keep you all updated as the action progresses.

Together, united, we’ll never be defeated!

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