Occupy Vancouver alive and well, say protesters
Several months after Occupy Vancouver was evicted from the Vancouver Art Gallery, protesters are describing the movement as alive and well.
Occupy Vancouver members have been holding meetings in a space in W2 in the Downtown Eastside and a regular “free market” gathering is held in East Vancouver’s Grandview Park. They also helped organize recent rallies over the federal robocalls affair.
“People that are active in Occupy are still very, very active. They’re just doing different things in different ways,” Occupy Vancouver’s Suresh Fernando told the Straight today (May 1) during a May Day rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery that Occupy Vancouver organized in coordination with B.C. labour groups.
Being back at the art gallery space stirred some feelings for protesters who took part in the tent city that emerged on the site last October.
“Definitely the occupation of the physical space was part of our political expression. It’s a huge part of it. It symbolized so much about the people taking back their rights,” protester Tosh Hyodo told the Straight.
“When we lost the physical space, we kind of lost a part of the very guts of Occupy Vancouver. We had no meeting place. It was turning into winter.”
But things have turned around since then, according to Hyodo.
“I believe that the momentum of Occupy Vancouver is right under the surface, and it just takes a little bit of leadership and a spark of purpose and we will come back together in an instant.”
Neither protester could say whether there are plans to reoccupy a space in the city in the manner of last fall's encampment.
“There might be a sustained occupation but I don’t know, and there’s no sort of immediate plans that I’m aware of,” Fernando said.