In an act of solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Vancouver protesters filled the lobby of a downtown office building to evict Brookfield Asset Management Ltd. – a company they’ve identified as part of the ‘one per cent’.
Brookfield came under fire after protesters learned it owns Zuccotti Park, where New York City police recently ousted dozens of Wall Street occupiers.
Demonstrators gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery and made signs emblazoned with anti-Brookfield messages. Some occupiers believe the company ordered the removal of New York’s encampment.
“Brookfield told [Mayor Bloomberg] to,” read a pamphlet distributed by occupiers at the march.
While Brookfield does own the park, the mayor and the city decided to take the tents down, said Andrew Willis, a company spokesperson.
But the Occupy Wall Street movement still endorsed Occupy Vancouver’s choice. They had called for solidarity demonstrations on their two-month anniversary. Vancouver occupiers responded by organizing the two marches to Brookfield’s office.
“We support anyone who wants to occupy any Brookfield properties around the world,” said Michael Premo, an Occupy Wall Street participant. Though it is not the movement’s target, he said.
Mr. Premo said he had heard some American Brookfield properties are also being occupied today, but has been unable to confirm those reports.
A large crowd of protestors left the VAG around 1 p.m. and walked along Georgia St. W chanting, “Evict Brookfield.” Despite the ongoing injunction hearing, protester Damien Otis said he expected a big turn out because direct action is important.
“The purpose of the march is to send a message to Brookfield to not partake in the repression of free speech,” said Mr. Otis.
They gathered at the building and shouted their demands before entering the lobby. Security responded quickly and temporarily locked the doors. But, when the occupiers realized they couldn’t access Brookfield’s offices on the second floor, they shouted a few more slogans and left.
“Clearly, 150 people occupying the lobby of a bank building for 15 minutes is not going to change the world,” said Steve Collis, an English professor at SFU and Occupy Vancouver media volunteer. “But it’s all about accumulation.”
A second march left the VAG later in the afternoon. Protesters walked a longer route, slowing traffic along major streets, before arriving at the office. Security had already locked the doors. After a brief chanting and dancing intermission, protesters reclaimed the streets, singing We’re Not Gonna Take It as they walked back to the encampment.