EDMONTON — The occupation of Wall Street in New York City has spread to Edmonton.
Local organizers are preparing to take part in a worldwide rally next weekend protesting corporate greed and corruption.
The Occupy Edmonton event will start at noon Saturday in Sir Winston Churchill Square, but no one knows how long it will last, says Lynette Bondarchuk. “There’s a possibility that some people will camp out.”
Occupy Wall Street has been going on since Sept. 16. The leaderless grassroots movement has since spread to 200 cities including Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“This is not just one group of activists connected to a certain organization,” says Bondarchuk, a 42-year-old independent artist and administrator, as she paints a large banner that reads: Stop Shopping Start Living.
“It’s for everybody. What everybody is basically saying is we’re fed up with corporations being able to buy political influence. I personally believe a lot of politicians are basically bought and paid for by corporations and then they influence legislation, such as environmental regulations, that aren’t strong enough or have a lot of loopholes.
“It’s people basically saying enough is enough.”
Bondarchuk doesn’t know if unions will join in the protest as they have the United States but she hopes they will, to strengthen the movement.
Bondarchuk was one of a handful of people who gathered in a tent in the backyard of her Bonnie Doon home Monday for the first of four sign-and-banner-making sessions this week.
Photographer James Birkbeck, bent over a table, working on a poster with the message No Blood No Greed, while pet sitter Jae Edmison, 29, put the finishing touches to a poster that read: The Corrupt Fear Us, The Honest Support Us, The Courageous Join Us.
“It means the majority of wealth is held by corporations and the divide between the rich and the poor gets wider every year,” Edmison explained. “I believe it’s better to do something than sit back and do nothing and it’s our right to protest peacefully. At some point, if you get enough people around the world saying the same thing, then you’re going to have government respond to that.”
Chelsea Taylor, 26, an associate director of the Sierra Club in Alberta, sat cross-legged on the grass designing a poster on her laptop.
“Images can help express our ideas more than long arguments, more than long essays, more than all that,” Taylor said. “And it’s subjective. It invokes different points of view, different feelings, different experiences.”
An Occupy Edmonton meeting, involving representatives from activist groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Education building on the University of Alberta campus.
One site user offered organizers the use of an ‘Occupy’ stencil design he helped pull together using street art images.
Bondarchuk says some people are planning to set up a free store in Churchill Square where people can drop off stuff they don’t want and have others take it away. “We also want to have street theatre and I think there’s going to be a march.
“We want to provide some entertainment and visual interest on the square as opposed to just kind of a regular protest with a bunch of angry people with signs.”
Approximately 1,200 cities around the world, including Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are expected to stage protests Saturday.
Original Article Here