In a quintessentially Toronto moment, the Occupy protest comes to a peaceful end

In a quintessentially Toronto moment, the Occupy protest comes to a peaceful end

St. James Park after the eviction notice is served (Image: Portraits Of Toronto from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool) 

The remaining Occupy Toronto protesters were forced from the wilds of St. James Park yesterday, and all things considered, it was a pretty smooth ride. Police, bylaw officers and city workers entered the park before sunrise and began removing tents and debris, but the process dragged on throughout the afternoon as a few diehard protesters staged their last stands. For now, though, that’s it: a few arrests and nary a broken window. In other words, nothing like the violence and relative chaos witnessed during the G20.

The Toronto Star has the details:

Tightly wound and sleepless protesters had been bracing for a forceful police action, but it never came.

Standoffs at the Sacred Fire site, the library yurt and the gazebo were largely resolved through negotiations between police and protesters…

Protesters also praised the efforts of police in reaching a peaceful resolution to a standoff over the library yurt, which had been barricaded and fortified, with a handful of protesters chaining themselves to the structure.

It seems police used experience at last summer’s summit as a teachable moment—the force at the park looked nothing the cops on the street during the G20. While the police will surely receive continued praise for diffusing a tense situation with aplomb (paging Joe Warmington and the Toronto Sun,) church and city staff, law enforcement and protesters all communicated to ensure a peaceful end.

Many on both sides probably won’t feel satisfied with the resolution—either because they feel protesters had a right to remain indefinitely or because they think the cops should’ve moved in long ago. Still, that such a loaded situation was resolved with minimal confrontation and no violence should be a coup for all.

Occupy Toronto’s encampment ends peacefully [Toronto Star]
Police clear out Occupy Toronto protesters as a few remain defiant [Globe and Mail]
Toronto no longer ‘occupied’: Mayor declares protest over after police remove campsite [National Post]