'Occupy' protest takes root in downtown Edmonton
Published Saturday, October 15, 2011 6:48PM MDT
Hundreds of Edmontonians gathered downtown, joining in a movement spreading around the world – protesting corporate greed.
The ‘Occupy Edmonton' protest started with hundreds gathering in Churchill Square Saturday afternoon.
The protest in Edmonton is part of a ‘Global Day of Action', and joins in on protests that began over a month ago in the U.S.
Protestors of all ages were seen creating signs with a variety of messages, such as: "Equality", "I love you", "People before profits" and "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism".
Not long after the gathering began, the crowd began to march through the downtown core – eventually ending up in a park on Jasper Avenue and 102 Street.
Soon after arriving at the park, tents were pitched, and the occupation began.
It's in that downtown park where many of the protestors plan to stay – for as long as is needed.
Although the reason for the protest may not appear to be consistent, but the root is the same, they seek equality, peace and change.
The crowd that gathered in Churchill Square covered a wide range of demographics.
"I'm seeing students, I'm seeing seniors, activists, professionals, everyone," Protestor Reiss Kruger said. "You can see the faces of the 99 per cent all throughout the crowd."
Most of the protestors call themselves the 99 per cent – and they are seeking change from the elite one per cent.
"It's the love of money that is the root of all evil," Protestor Peter Johnston said. "That is what our society has become completely focused on."
"We are not consenting this system," Activist Luke Lupul said. "We were born into it, and we dislike it,
"That's why the youth are coming out to protest."
Starting Saturday afternoon, dozens of them have taken over a park downtown – and said they won't leave until they see change.
"I think it's going to be nice for awhile," Lupul said. "The novelty will wear off, but I'm not planning to vacate anytime soon."
As far as the protestors' occupation of the downtown park goes, they have pitched their tents on private property.
However, police who followed the entire event on Saturday without incident said they aren't planning on forcing the protestors to leave.
Until they are forced out, if ever, organizers said they will keep their protest civil.
"We are a peaceful, non-violent group," Occupy Edmonton organizer Chelsea Taylor said. "We are committed to those principles."
With files from Sean Amato