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NEWS: 5,000 at Occupy Vancouver

Board member Bob Ages and chapter activists at Occupy Vancouver

The Vancouver Sun reports, “Close to 4,000 (about 5,000 according to NEWS 1130) Occupy Vancouver protesters, escorted by the police, peacefully marched through the city’s central business district, chanting slogans against corporations and growing social inequality. …The march through the downtown core at times mimicked the leaderless, loosely-organized Occupy Vancouver organizing group, with the procession splintering into separate marches, tying up traffic. …The event was festive with its participants at one point joining in a mass group-hug. …About the wide-range of grievances being voiced by speakers on the stage, B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair said: ‘This is a wide tent because there is a wide group of people upset with the government and what is happening with capitalism in today’s world. And so you are see a real mixture: seniors, a lot of young people, and you see them coming together here and around the world. And hopefully the message is getting through to the top of the tower there that the system they made isn’t working for the rest of us anymore.’ …Protesters erected about 20 tents by mid-day with the intention of indefinitely occupying the VAG’s lawn.”

The Council of Canadians has provided three portable toilets for the occupation on the grounds of the Vancouver Art Gallery for the next month.

The Georgia Straight reports, “Local Council of Canadians activist Harjap Grewal was among protesters on Howe Street, adjacent to the main event on Occupy Vancouver’s kickoff day. ‘I think that this is a beginning, and it’s inspiring to see this many people recognizing what’s happening in the world in terms of corporate greed, and inequity in the world,’ Grewal said. ‘And we’re engaging, and there is a lot for us to learn from each other about many issues, from the system itself, to colonization, to other things that we’re going to talk about in the weeks to come. …The bankers and [Premier] Christy Clark and the governments that support the bankers are on notice,’ Grewal noted.”

The Vancouver Media Co-op reports, “Another wonderful facet of the Occupy Vancouver declaration is their acknowledgment that Vancouver is already ‘occupied’ land. The working document reads, ‘We humbly acknowledge that Occupy Vancouver is taking place on First Nation territories.’ This small but poignant sentence signifies the forward thinking approach this movement is taking.” The first paragraph of the Occupy Vancouver Movement declaration reads, “We, the Ninety-Nine Percent, come together with our diverse experiences to transform the unequal, unfair, and growing disparity in the distribution of power and wealth in our city and around the globe. We challenge corporate greed, corruption, and the collusion between corporate power and government. We oppose systemic inequality, militarization, environmental destruction, and the erosion of civil liberties and human rights. We seek economic security, genuine equality, and the protection of the environment for all.”

CBC reports, “While there was a strong police presence at the event, Vancouver police reported a large but well-behaved crowd. ‘What’s interesting is the number of marches already. There was one main march that was in the neighbourhood of 2,000 people and it was very long,’ said Const. Jana McGuinness. ‘The tail end of it was at the Vancouver Art Gallery, when the front end was down to Hastings and back up to the art gallery, so that is a big march. They have also splintered a little bit which keeps up busy as well.’ McGuinness said police made no arrests, and there were no serious incidents to report.”

For additional reports – including Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara’s ‘Occupying in Toronto’ blog and UPDATE: Barlow at Occupy Ottawa – go to http://canadians.org.

Photos from Occupy Vancouver at http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/photo/hope-anger-courage-day-one-occupy-vancouver/8438 and https://picasaweb.google.com/109201891213682901261/OccupyVancouver?authkey=Gv1sRgCKi7_Lvmxu317gE&feat=email#.