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What Happens After Eviction Day?

by Eli Horwatt

It’s on the minds of many Toronto Occupiers right now, but few want to think about the inevitability of eviction since City Hall bylaw officers littered the park with trespassing warnings. Once dismantled, other Occupy camps have had difficulty either retaking space or setting up new camps. Rather than face the death knell of the local movement, Toronto has sought to develop contingency plans. 

Occupy Toronto marshals Dick Johnson and Brandon Gray say that talks have begun on how best to respond to a raid, both immediately (i.e. how to protect individuals, save belongings and remove infrastructure) and in the long-term (as in, what happens next?). Johnson suggested that, in the case of eviction, “social networking tools will help the movement regroup” and potentially locate a new camp to occupy. Gray mentioned that many occupiers are adamant about maintaining St. James Park as the campsite, describing how support from neighbouring St. James Cathedral would allow for the camp to locate to parts of the park owned by the church itself (though more recently, the church has said they will cooperate with police). 

With some of the most developed on-site infrastructure in the North American Occupy movement, both Gray and Johnson are concerned about the potential destruction of property during a police raid, which could seriously harm the reconstruction of a future occupation. Various ideas have been floated, including the rehearsal of a rapid dismantling of tents, and setting up the non-violent defence of the most important structures. 

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