British Columbia

Occupy Vancouver moves to provincial courthouse

The B.C. government says it will move right away to get legal authority to oust Occupy Vancouver protesters who marched their tent city one block from the city's art gallery to the B.C. provincial courthouse Monday.

Premier Christy Clark says she's 'fed up' with the protesters

Lawyers for the B.C. government will be in the province's Supreme Court Tuesday seeking an injunction to remove Occupy Vancouver protesters from the property outside the downtown provincial courthouse, says Premier Christie Clark.

The protestors had packed up their encampment at the city's downtown art gallery on Monday, but then marched their tent city one block away to the court building.

"[Tuesday] at 10 a.m. we'll be seeking an injunction, as soon as the courts open, so we can make sure that they move," Clark said Monday night.

Clark said she was fed up with the Occupy protest and believes most other people are, too.

"I think they're ignoring the spirit of the court ruling," won Friday by the City of Vancouver, "that they pick up and leave," the premier said.

An Occupy spokesman said the move was sending a message.

"It's clearly symbolic," said camper Steve Collis. "We were moved out of the front of the Vancouver Art Gallery because of a decision made here in the law courts, so now we're on their doorstep."

A handful of protesters immediately began erecting tents and moving supplies to the new site, gathering in a circle and chanting "freedom."

Collis said protesters believe the court grounds are provincial land, so the province — and not the city — would have to have to ask them to leave.

The protesters remained mostly peaceful, though one was arrested at the new site just after 4 p.m. Police took the 40-year-old man into custody after he allegedly assaulted another member of the Occupy encampment, said Const, Lindsey Houghton. 

Mayor Gregor Robertson said people are free to protest, but they can't set up another campsite because that would trigger the same problems that came up at the art gallery.

Flash occupations

The original tent city at the Vancouver Art Gallery was dismantled in advance of a court-ordered 2 p.m. PT deadline to clear the encampment.

More than half of the tents were pulled down in advance of the deadline and protesters carried them through the streets, blocking traffic at several downtown intersections, before relocating to the courthouse.

Shortly after the art gallery site was vacated, city workers moved in with bulldozers to clear the trash and debris left behind.

Earlier in the day, organizers said anyone who wanted to remain at the art gallery was free to do so, but stressed they would be acting as individuals and not on behalf of the larger movement.

The group also vowed to remain non-violent and keep the movement going through flash occupations at buildings and parks throughout the city at some time in the future, but organizers would not say when or where.

On Friday a B.C. Supreme Court judge gave the protesters them until Monday afternoon to move their encampment, which has sprawled over the lawn of Vancouver's art gallery for more than a month.

Victoria tents remain

In Victoria most of the protesters had removed their tents from Centennial Square by Monday morning, but police said about five refused to leave and about 15 tents remained at the site.

Protester Joseph Revelle said he has no intention of leaving and is prepared to be arrested.

"I'll be here until they cart me away," he said.

"We can't have this discussion swept under the carpet — otherwise it won't be finished, it won't be completed.  We have to keep everything out in the open because as people, we tend to forget the things that aren't right in front of us and this hasn't been dealt with yet. There are a lot of issue that have yet to be discussed."

The city returned to B.C. Supreme Court for an enforcement order to remove the remaining tents and arrest those who refuse to comply, but by Monday evening no action had been taken and officials would not say when they would enforce the court order. The protesters were ordered to remove their tents by 7 a.m. PT Saturday. 

In Toronto a judge has ruled that Occupy Toronto protesters must end their five-week long encampment at a downtown park.