A number of Occupy Victoria protesters apparently heeded a Saturday morning eviction deadline, as police found dozens of tents abandoned or dismantled.
Officers sent to Centennial Square to check on the demonstrators said they found most obeyed a court order issued that said the camp had to be taken down by 7 a.m. PT.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Terence Schultes said Friday that freedom of speech arguments just weren't strong enough to trump the city's enforcement of its bylaws.
"There's a couple dozen tents that have already been removed and gone," and another dozen or so have been abandoned, Insp. Andrew Lacon said Saturday.
The camp, which once held some 70 tents, was down to about 12 by the deadline, he said.
"We're not removing people's tents at this point, we're just cleaning up any of the garbage that may be here," he said.
Police will not be removing any remaining protesters either.
Judge Schultes said Friday police would be required to return to the court on Monday for an enforcement order because of the protesters' respect for the law and their recent good behaviour.
Many demonstrators at the Victoria camp decided to pack up and leave voluntarily earlier this week, but protestor Anushka Nagji still called the ruling a victory.
"Not granting an injunction order goes to the fact that they recognize the peaceful nature of the assembly and criminalizing dissent, at this point, is not necessary," Nagji said Friday.
Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin said he was pleased with the ruling because the tone of the protest had shifted from its original purpose.
"A criminal element [has] come in that it's really almost hijacked [it]," he said Friday night. "Those rising concerns of safety and public health really created a situation where it's not compatible for other community events."
Occupy Toronto, Calgary face challenges
The eviction order comes as Occupy groups across Canada face increasing pressure for the public and local officials.
Occupy Vancouver was given a 2 p.m. PT Monday deadline to dismantle tents that have been set up in front of the city's art gallery.
Evictions spur complaint to UN
A group of Ontario lawyers has filed a complaint at the United Nations over the move by various Canadian cities to evict Occupy protesters.
In its submission to the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Law Union of Ontario says the evictions are an affront to the rights to freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly.
One man was arrested there after a group of protesters marched to the office of a candidate in Saturday's municipal elections and began banging on windows.
Police in Vancouver have been granted power to enforce that city's eviction order.
Camps in Halifax, Regina and Saskatoon, meanwhile, have already been taken down while protesters in Calgary and Toronto are dealing with eviction notices.
The Occupy movement has been decrying corporate greed and aims to highlight the concentration of the world's wealth in the hands of very few.
It began in Manhattan with Occupy Wall Street and crossed the border into Canada on Oct. 15, when encampments began to be set up in cities across the country.