The Mayor of Fredericton sent a letter to Occupy Fredericton on Monday, Nov. 20th requesting that they leave Phoenix Square in front of Fredericton City Hall for the official Christmas Tree lighting. “Subject to the foregoing, I would appreciate you finding another location in the City between now and Friday, November 25th,” stated Mayor Brad Woodside.
About 40 people attended an emergency general assembly at Occupy Fredericton at 7:00 pm on Monday evening to discuss the request to vacate. Mayor Woodside was also in attendance. The next morning on CBC radio, the Mayor complained about the attitude of the Occupy participants.
“I am not surprised by the City’s move, but it seems to me that it might be possible to arrive at a compromise whereby those wishing to continue to occupy could co-exist with the Christmas tree. There may be a compelling reason preventing such a compromise, but the Mayor did not provide one at the General Assembly on Monday night,” said Matthew Hayes, a sociology professor at St. Thomas University who has been organizing daily teach-ins at the Occupy Fredericton site for the past three weeks.
“The teach-ins were one way that public space in Fredericton was being occupied and used constructively by members of the community. They brought new people to Phoenix Square, raised issues that are not often discussed in other places, and tried to connect professors from the universities with the broader community through informed discussions about public issues,” said Hayes.
Many participants of Occupy Fredericton want to stay throughout the winter while others feel that the movement needs to take new forms and build connections with others in the community. As of Saturday, November 26th, Occupation Fredericton continues.
Tracy Glynn is a member of the NB Media Co-op.