Occupy Toronto camp neighbours losing patience
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There are signs of growing tension between Occupy Toronto protesters and residents and business owners near the encampment in St. James Park.
Things reached a boiling point Thursday outside a business overlooking the park at King Street East and Church Street, where protesters have been camping since Oct. 15.
Residents and business owners discussed the camp at a meeting, which also drew some Occupy Toronto protesters.
"I don’t want you there, you’re ruining the neighbourhood," one resident shouted.
"I'm telling you that I live upstairs and I can't sleep because you guys are so loud," another said.
Patrick McMurray, owner of the Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill on Adelaide Street East, said local business owners have seen a sharp drop in revenue since protesters moved in.
"There's fires going on, there's open drugs and drinking, they're living in a park, which I believe is illegal," he told CBC News. "You’re allowed to protest any time you want to, you just can’t live in a park."
Mayor Ford wants the protesters out
Mayor Rob Ford has said he wants the protesters to pack up. City officials have hinted that a plan to move the protesters out could begin as early as next week.
Occupy Toronto volunteer Taylor Chelsea said local residents should focus on the issues the occupiers are trying to raise, such as global economic disparity.
"This is a reflection of our society," she told CBC News. "And so the fact that it's landed in someone's backyard, it's unfortunate, but these are the issues that we want to address."
Anne-Marie Batten is a nurse volunteering at the camp and fears what might happen if police move in.
"Some have left their suitcases with everything they own in these tents," she said. "So we do have a fear that when this is over, if these goods are confiscated, we’re going to have a pretty large problem."
Protesters said they have no plans to leave the camp. Others have said they will return to the park if they’re removed.