About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Arrested Development or Development Arrested?

This was the scene at 4 pm on the dot at the Downey St., home base of the grassroots occupation against the Hanlon Creek Business Park. As you'll recall from yesterday (and scroll down if you do not) the city gave protesters till 4 pm today to vacate the land, lest police be sent in to remove them. By 4:05 pm, there was still no police, just a long line of cars at the side of the road, a CTV satellite van and more than a dozen protesters at the mouth of the trail leading to their camp, keeping watch."On behalf of all mothers with children, please do it for me," said one passing motorist. Apparently this was one of several outcries of support for the HCBP occupiers as Day 4 was in full-blown "wait and see" mode. Apparently even "well-dressed people in luxury SUVs" stopped and offered words of encouragement as the day wore on. But as 4:30 rolled around, the 60-70 protesters on site held their ground, both literally and figuratively.

At around 4:35 an announcement was made to the camp: apparently one or two police cruisers had buzzed the entrance way on Downey Rd., not stopping mind you, but seemingly checking on the situation. Further, there was no communication from the city: no "April Fools" or "We're coming to evict you now," or anything like that.

By this point though, the protesters were entrenched, both in philosophical resolve and in the fact that they dug actual trenches at entrance ways into the site so that none but the hardiest construction vehicles could pass. Along the path, obstacles like the one in the above picture have been erected. Whatever else, the protesters are firm in their belief and in their position. It's 5 'o' clock and still no one's come.

With the deadline passed by more than 75 minutes, the large group breaks off into their own little pursuits, comfortable in the fact that it looks like nothing's going to happen today (before dark anyway). There's a rally in St. George's Square at 7 pm to look forward to, as well as ongoing considerations as to what will happen when and if the police do come. "Everybody's decided what their own response is going to be," is all "Keter Partwright" will say in terms of the groups plans in the event of forced eviction by police, mostly though, he says that growing group is trying to focus on the positive experiences.

"A lot of people came here Monday not knowing each other and they made all this happen," says one protester who wished to go unidentified. He indicates the rather elaborate encampment set up including a makeshift stone stove, a firewood area with protective tarp and a kitchenette area complete with table and chairs seeming fresh from a local thrift store with masking tape price tags still attached. "It's been amazing," he adds in summation, taking in the pleasant summer day.

What'll happen next? Dang if I know, but stay tuned here for developments as they, well, develop.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Apparently even "well-dressed people in luxury SUVs" stopped and offered words of encouragement as the day wore on.

You mean the local "entitled" Liberal establishment graced the protesters with their presence? You know, the folks who talk a good game, but never actually DO anything to change the status quo?