Snow Falling on Civil Disobedience


Early this morning, just after 2:00, Police removed the participants of Occupy Ottawa, enforcing the eviction notice served on Monday. Eight Occupiers were arrested, and one was transported to hospital (for, apparently, a pre-existing injury aggravated by the forcible removal). The morning brought us Ottawa’s first snowfall, and I’m a little disappointed to awake to a Confederation Park with a fresh blanket of snow hiding the remnants of a peaceful demonstration.

I have never assumed that the protesters had a right to occupy the park, nor do I agree that such an occupation is necessarily protected by the Charter, however, I was heartened when, during the first few weeks, the NCC showed no sign of ending the demonstration. Yes, there were some rumblings about Winterlude, but in October and November, there was little to be concerned about.

Throughout the occupation, Occupy Ottawa and government officials worked well together. Police would move freely about the park, chatting with the occupiers. When the NCC asked for all chalk drawings and paraphenalia removed from the monuments, the camp obliged. The worst issues that arose, regarding safety issues, were, actually, improved by the NCC’s eviction notice. Only the true believers stayed. Those who were less involved with the cause and those who were the most difficult to handle left on Monday.

During this time, I was rather happy about the presence, behaviour and treatment of Occupy Ottawa (though there were definite issues that needed to be addressed). It seemed that a movement that was so confrontational and so violent elsewhere had a particularly Ottawa-like feel to it, and I’m sad that it ended like this:

Occupy Ottawa isn’t ending. Today, they we will be gathering at the University of Ottawa, I assume to plot the next phase of this branch of the movement.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Snow Falling on Civil Disobedience : the Commons.

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