Far from the chanting crowds in Edmonton and Calgary, less than 30 people joined the global “Occupy” movement in front of Red Deer City Hall on Saturday.
“Occupy Red Deer” was a small and short affair compared to larger movements where demonstrators waved signs, marched, camped over night in public places and chanted about economic inequality and corporate greed.
Protesters of all ages sat on the City Hall steps while others stood around in small groups. The weekend’s demonstrations were part of a series of global rallies sparked by the “Occupy” movement that began in New York in September.
City resident Lyle Keewatin Richards was the only telltale sign there was an actual demonstration in Red Deer.
Keewatin Richards was dressed as “Alberta Corporate Greed.”
He donned a hard hat with a skeleton mask and handed out fake money to passersby.
“It’s beautiful,” he said. “How would we live without poison. How would we live with this misappropriation of land and no education and no health care. It’s all about the money, right?”
Much like the larger protests, the Red Deer event was loosely organized through social media sites like Facebook.
“This was very spontaneous thing,” said Pat Marcellus, who did not know who organized the event. “People showed up spontaneously which showed a variety of people from different walks of life are coming together . . . It is spontaneous people who believe what they are saying.”
Andrea Dillingham, a mother of two, watched closely as the movement spread across the border from Wall Street in New York City to Canada.
“I used to work for a financial institution,” she said. “At one point I couldn’t sleep at night.
The burden of proof was I had sales revenues to meet and I was getting people in trouble to meet them.”
Ken Collier, chairman of the local chapter of the Council of Canadians, said those people who have not had an avenue to voice their problems have found a place in the “Occupy” movement.
“Some people say the strength of this whole thing is there is no list of demands,” said Collier. “People know what it is. People know how unfair the whole thing is. It’s not like we have a list of the government should do this or the other thing. They just have to stop being crooked. They have to stop being corrupt and stop ripping people off.”
Clair McGimpsey, a long-time city resident, stood outside of city hall but was not a part of the “Occupy” movement. He said it is important that people have the right to freedom of speech and are able to protest about things that are unjust in our society.
“I am very comfortable with my life but there are many people that aren’t,” he said.
Red Deer was occupied for about two hours before the protesters dispersed into the night.
– copyright Red Deer Advocate