Occupy Ottawa demonstrators behaved themselves Thursday as they targeted four locations in the city, as part of the movement’s Global Day of Action.
Many demonstrators donned winter coats, mittens and snowpants as organizers outlined a game plan before hitting the streets. The park — still housing tents and signs — was taken over by the movement on Oct. 15.
Demonstrators went to Parliament Hill “so that we can bring our messages straight to the politicians,” said a spokesperson.
Participants were feeling inspired by their counterparts in New York City, who were given the boot by police earlier this week.
The Occupy Wall Street movement caused chaos during the morning rush hour in New York Thursday as protesters tried to block workers in the financial district from getting to their offices.
Ottawa’s events attracted bonafide demonstrators as well as newbies.
“I wanted to show solidarity with the protesters in New York,” said Dennis Murphy, a first-time demonstrator. “I think it’s an important movement, probably the most important expression of civil dissent in probably 40 years, at least.”
Tourists were also intrigued.
Bob Sutton and his wife are in town from Camlachie, Ont., near Sarnia.
“I was impressed with how articulate the spokespeople were and how focused they were on staying organized, being non-violent, being co-operative as people who feel they have a message to deliver,” said Sutton.
They remained in the park after the rallies began, taking it all in.
Unlike many other cities, Ottawa’s movement hasn’t been shut down.
The National Capital Commission runs the park and has been meeting daily with police.
“We don’t know if they’ll be evicted or relocating,” said Ottawa police Const. Henri Lanctot.
Confederation Park is a key location for the annual Winterlude festival, which runs Feb. 3 to 20.
Sutton thinks demonstrators should be allowed to stay as long as they’re peaceful.
“We can’t always make second something that important to things like tourism and our market processes,” said Sutton.
Demonstrators returned to the park for a feast prepared by their food committee. The temperature was forecast to dip to -5C overnight.