Today I was checking out the sites in Downtown Kelowna when I happened up on the Occupy Kelowna demonstration.
“It’s about giving 99 per cent of the people a voice,” said Brandy McNeill who is one of two 24 hour demonstrators. “We all have issues to bring to the table so let’s discuss them.”
She says their discussions with the city have gotten to the point of “quibbling” and that they are “just bullying” the protestors at this point. She says demonstrators are allowed to sleep in chairs during the day, but not if they are sitting in a reclining position or covered in blankets.
She says that the city has restricted them to a patch of dirt adjacent to a city park from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. at which point they are required to move their tents, signage, and chairs to the sidewalk of a nearby monument before moving back to the dirt.
“We have a Charter right to peaceful assembly,” she says. “And I think the Charter takes precedence over a by-law.
While the number of protestors is low at the moment she says they are receiving support from the community in the form of coffee, tea, donuts, food, signatures on a petition, and honks from passing motorists.
The demonstrators have received some unlikely support from a bus of Taiwanese tourists who were taking photos of the Kelowna Sails monument.
“When they were taking photos we removed our signs so they could take photos of the monument without obstruction,” she says. “But then stopped us and told us to leave them because they support our movement.”
For more information on Occupy Kelowna please visit their Facebook group.