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#occupytoronto – Photo Blog | Ramy Nassar

#occupytoronto – Photo Blog

For a little over two months now, #occupy protests have been going on across North America and around the world. In recent weeks, much of the attention has shifted to whether or not the occupiers should be allowed to take up residence in public spaces, such as Saint James Park in downtown Toronto.

I have mixed feelings about the protests. Overall, I’m supportive of the movement and the principles that the occupiers stand for, at the same time, I really worry that right now, the message has gotten clouded by a fight about tents in the park, rather than the real issues at hand. As I write this, the #occupytoronto protesters await a court ruling about whether or not they can remain in the park after having been served eviction notices.

What confuses or upsets me a little was a statement I heard (I don’t know if this person speaks for the majority or for himself) that essentially indicated that they had made the legal appeal to stay in the park and were hopeful that the law would side in their favour. The person then followed up by saying that if they were ruled against, they would ignore the ruling and remain in the park. I don’t really find it fair to say that you are with the law, when it’s in your favour, but if it’s not, then just flat out ignoring it…

Anyway, I’m really not going to write too much. But I did have a chance to spend a bit of time in the park last weekend and actually spoke to a number of occupiers, as well as listening to a few ad hoc speeches.

Of course, a trip like this would not have been complete without my camera, so here are a few of my favourite images… I kept the processing pretty simple with these, but did feel that most of them “worked” better with a high contrast, black and white feel to them…

The overall spirit in the park seemed to be mostly positive. That being said, the smell of weed in the air was rampant, much to the dismay of the dozens of signs warning against drug and alcohol use in the park. I think the last thing that the organizers/leaders want is to give the police or authorities a reason to kick them out…

It was a beautiful day… Not sure how spirits and numbers fair on lousy weather days…

As much as many protesters had powerful stories to share and catchy slogans, I guess the reason I feel like I’m a little “on the fence” with the whole movement is that there is very little talk about solutions…

Lots of great signs!

It was also interesting to see how many families and individuals who did not seem associated with the occupation were taking walks through the park, almost oblivious to what was going around them. Not sure if they were just trying to keep their heads down to avoid attention or trying to make a statement that they felt that the park was still theirs and they weren’t going to pay attention to the occupiers.

 

Bikes! So many bikes…