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Canadian cities join occupy movement
Protesters marched through the streets and filled the parks of several Canadian cities on Saturday, in demonstrations that evoked the spirit of New Yorks Occupy Wall St.
Mat Berkowitz, a spokesperson for the Occupy Vancouver protest, which drew about 2,000 people, said the Occupy movement reflects a growing awareness and concern over social and economic ills that plague not only Canadians, but people the world over.
The broadest social problems around the world war, poverty, income inequality, destruction of the environment these issues are only getting worse, Berkowitz told CTV News Channel on Saturday afternoon. And I think peoples awareness has been heightened to the extent that they decided to unite around the world to express the discontentment for the social system at large.
The peaceful protests contrasted sharply with the violent riots that marked the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup loss last June and last years G20 Summit.
The largest protest was in Toronto, where an estimated 1,500 Occupy Toronto demonstrators gathered in the financial district at King and Bay Sts. then marched east to St. James Park. A steady rain thinned the crowd to a few hundred people, who set up tents in preparation for an occupation.
In an interview, protester Kate Heming said the plan was to occupy the park through the winter. The protesters have made arrangements for portable toilets in the park, she said.
We hope to see a peaceful protest, said Heming, an independent film producer who took part in the Occupy Wall St. protest in New York City last week.
Maura DrewLytle of the Canadian Bankers Association said downtown bank branches and corporate towers increased security in case of trouble but noted: Its peaceful.
In Halifax, about 200 demonstrators set up tents in a downtown park. Joy Woolfrey, a 69yearold international development consultant, said she was taking part because the system is broken.
In Montreal, more than 1,000 protesters took to Victoria Square, in the financial district. Tents and coolers of food suggested some demonstrators were in for a long stay. Frederic Carmel, a 25yearold office administrator, booked next week off of work to camp in the square over the enormous inequality in the division of wealth.
Several hundred people rallied in Calgary, while dozens of protesters gathered outside the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg.
In Vancouver, protesters gathered in a oneblock space outside the citys art gallery.
A spokesperson for the Occupy Edmonton march, Chelsea Taylor, said Albertas oil industry dictates government policy. Oil might run your car but it really shouldnt run your government, she said. on Saturday, Harper said his government was in touch with the concerns of most Canadians.
The focus of Canadians is the same as the focus of their government, and that is we all know were living in a global economy, where the recovery is extremely fragile, Harper said while attending an event at Northern Lights College.
Among other issues, they decry poverty, tarsands pollution and exploitation of Aboriginal people. have been largely peaceful, and those involved in planning the Canadian demonstrators insisted that they, too, would be nonviolent. Embassy. Hundreds of people also joined peaceful protests in Hong Kong and Seoul.
In Europe, the movement is joining up with antiausterity protests that have raged for months across the continent.
Police in Rome fired tear gas and water cannons as a protest march turned into a riot. Cars were burned and windows in banks and stores were smashed. It began when a small group of violent protesters broke away from the main demonstration on Saturday.
In Frankfurt, some 5,000 people took to the streets to protest in front of the European Central Bank.
Hundreds marched through the Bosnian city of Sarajevo carrying pictures of Che Guevara and old communist flags that read Death to capitalism, freedom to the people.