Around 10 a.m. this morning, the City of Toronto posted eviction notices on the benches and fountains in St. James Park telling Occupy Toronto protesters to “remove your tents, structures, equipment and personal belongings” between 12:01 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. It also said: “the City can no longer sanction the appropriation of St. James Park by a relatively small group of people to the exclusion of all others wishing to use the park and to the detriment of those in the vicinity.”
The park has been occupied by members of the anti-greed Occupy Wall Street movement for past 31 days. Protesters were evicted and arrested last night at the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City, although a court order has allowed them back into Zuccotti Park today.
The scene in St. James Park this afternoon was more serene. Under bright sunshine, a handful of protesters chatted about what to do next, trading bets about the likelihood of riot police with tear gas tearing down their encampment at midnight. One man, who gave his name as Bertrand, packed up his tent, adding “it was a gift.” An advertising student from Humber College packed up too.
Others assembled at a microphone in front of St. James Cathedral to discuss what they might do next. The small crowd was doubled in size by journalists, local residents and onlookers in business attire. Meanwhile, an old lady sped through the centre of the park on her motor-scooter, a man jogged through in shorts, and children played in the mud where the grass was killed by tents.
Near the entrance to the park, a young man stood holding a poster of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, shouting out “this is the only permit we need!” A passerby called him a “loser.”