Occupy Windsor protestors to greet city council
Handful of people plan on staying in protest of corporate greed and corrupt politics
Those participating in the Occupy Windsor demonstration near city hall plan to greet city council Monday night when councillors arrive.
Tents have popped up outside Windsor City Hall, where a handful of people started sleeping in them overnight Saturday as part of the Occupy Windsor movement.
Approximately 15 people spent Sunday night in about 10 tents.
The movement involves people of all ages, from students to retirees. More than 100 people began their protest by marching on downtown streets Saturday afternoon expressing their frustration with corporate greed, the gap between the rich and poor, job loss and the struggling economy.
"It's the corporations and the politicians dictating terms to the public and telling us, 'we don't really care about you guys. As long as I get my money, I'm good,'" said retiree Ray Poisson.
University student Mohammad Almoayad said people are finally realizing they can maybe make a difference.
"There's a few economic powers that dominate global economy, that dominate our economy and our political system and they're destroying it slowly," Almoayad said. "Now there's this global awakening that this needs to be changed."
Occupy Canada protests sprang up in more than a dozen cities on Saturday. Here's a breakdown of the estimated crowd sizes in some of the weekend demonstrations:
Vancouver: 4,000 people on Saturday in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Calgary: 400-plus at Bankers Hall, with a camp set up at St. Patrick's Island, west of the zoo..
Edmonton: 1,000 estimated to have marched downtown Saturday, with a tent city set up at Jasper Park.
Saskatoon: 200 at a rally at Friendship Park, with dozens spending the night at a camp.
Regina: 100-plus in a Saturday march in Victoria Park.
Winnipeg: 400-plus downtown, with dozens camping outside.
Windsor: 100-plus Saturday near city hall.
Toronto: Between 2,000 and 3,000 in the financial hub.
Ottawa: About 50 people.
Montreal: 1,000 on Saturday, with 85 tents set up at Victoria Square.
Halifax: 300 on Saturday at Grand Parade Square.
St. John's: 50 people near the waterfront amid wet weather.
Charlottetown: 125 people outside Province House.
Police say protestors can stay
The tents in the park next to City Hall will remain indefinitely, according to organizers.
Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis and Windsor Police Chief Gary Smith say the protestors can stay as long as the situation remains peaceful.
"They are occupying public land. I'm not going to do anything drastic over a parks bylaw," Smith said.
Smith said police will move in if problems arise.
Those participating in the movement vow that it will stay peaceful. Their main goal is to get their issues and message out to the people, they said.
Labour movement applauds protest
Some high profile faces of the local labour movement participated in the protest.
The CAW's president Ken Lewenza spent time at the rally Saturday. And Paul Chislett of the Windsor Workers' Action Centre is camping out.
"You know, these are grassroots organizers, nobody's really in charge. But they're really talking about inequities; talking about the power of multi-national corporations; talking about a future that's much more insecure today than it was 50 years ago," Lewenza said. "So there's a lot of frustrations, a lot of anxieties, and, of course, the CAW is going to support grassroots movements."
Chislett was one of the first to pitch a tent.
"I think it's a concrete way to show solidarity with the other movements in Canada and around the world," Chislett said. Occupying movements began on Wall Street in New York City and spread across North America. "You know, it's one thing to come to a rally and to the general assemblies but taking the time to stay overnight in the park it's symbolic for me," Chislett said.