Mayor Gregor Robertson on Occupy Vancouver
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson offers this statement on Occupy Vancouver:
“This Saturday, citizens from across Vancouver and throughout the Lower Mainland will gather downtown for the Occupy Vancouver event being held in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
“We have seen the Occupy Wall Street movement grow and spread to dozens of cities across North America. In these turbulent economic times, I recognize and appreciate the concerns and angst that people, especially young people, feel about the economy, rising inequality, the environment, and state of the world right now. I fully support the right of people to demonstrate those concerns publicly and peacefully.
“The vast majority of those planning to participate in Occupy Vancouver have expressed openly their desire to do so peacefully and lawfully. The City of Vancouver has a long history of protecting free speech and the right to protest peacefully.
“However, we know from our experience with the Stanley Cup riots and the protests that marked the start of the Olympic Games that large gatherings can sometimes attract small groups of people determined to use these avenues for their own violent ends.
“Violence, whether against people or property, will not be tolerated and will only detract from those who wish to legitimately express their opinions. Senior City staff are working closely with the VPD and stakeholders across the community to ensure we are positioned to support a lawful and peaceful protest.
“The issues of economic instability and inequality are important, and our citizens are free to voice their concerns and protest peacefully as they see fit.
“However, there will be police presence in and around this protest, as there is for any large event downtown. This is to ensure the City is doing what we can to ensure people have the ability to be heard safely, and that this protest is not undermined by violence or destructive behaviour of any kind.”