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So ends today’s live coverage of #OccupyVancouver. Thanks to everyone who followed along on Twitter and elsewhere. If you’ve got any questions you’d like to see answered please add them in the comments below or email email@example.com.
We’ll be firing back up bright and early tomorrow, and if there are any major developments this evening we’ll have them posted here.
Our Derek Bedry corners Gary Lachance, one of the last speakers to go on before the general assembly, for a discussion on the power of the Decentralized Danceparty:
The Dependent: So what’s a decentralized sound system?
Gary Lachance: We’re trying to get the word out about what we’ve created and have it spread through the Occupy Movement worldwide and hopefully be able to facilitate better, faster communication for everyone there.
TD: How does it work?
GL: Take a portable radio FM transmitter, and input into that is a microphone and an iPod and you send out an FM radio signal or the music and the voice to an infinite number of boomboxes or walkmans depending on the FM radio, and you have a portable decentralized sound system that can go anywhere.
TD: So is it kind of like taking the iTrip and making it bigger?
TD: So what are these apparatus on your body?
GL: This is a 1989 original Nintendo power glove, and it’s rigged up to control the iPod. And this is a tie. And this is the antenna from the transmitter in my backpack.
TD: How far does it reach?
GL: Just a couple blocks.
TD: And how about the clothes?
b: Right now we’re in the midst of our “Strictly Business” tour, and we’re doing a tour across North America doing decentralized dance parties all over. We just got back from a five-city tour of Western Canada. (To assistant) My hair alright? We did Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary and Victoria. There were about 3500 people in Calgary and it’s just spread from word of mouth.
TD: So you guys gonna give us a dance party tonight?
GL: Only if there’s a consensus.
The scheduled general assembly has begun, with the crowd still figuring out the best way to communicate amongst the several hundred that have remained at the Art Gallery after dark. It’s clear that it will take some time to get used to the systems of group communication employed by the Occupy facilitators.
An audio example of group discussion using the “human mic”:
The start of the 7:00PM general assembly is delayed, following consensus that those who had signed up to speak should be granted the opportunity.
Shaw discusses the possibility of violence, his idea of the best outcomes, and his impressions on the effectiveness of the movement.
Listen to the whole interview:
City and senior Vancouver Art Gallery staff confirm that sometime this morning, power was granted to the Occupy Vancouver protest for the functioning of the PA. Earlier reports from protest organizers and attendees indicated the City had left power on the Art Gallery grounds off, and their amplification system was powered by a generator.
“The City spoke with the organizers and extended power to them for operation of the public address system,” explains Wendy Stewart, spokesperson for the City of Vancouver. “It was early this morning.”
According to Stewart, water has also been provided and the relationship between protest organizers and the City is “very collegial.”
Groups have begun to split off in preparation for the 7.00PM general assembly. The Press Releases/Media Team began their meeting in the shadow of the Art Gallery steps, with a dozen people using the “human microphone” to begin the discussion, fighting with the music pumping from the PA.
“That we move this meeting to a quiet place…”
Around the corner and the General Assembly team begins their discussion as well, the strains of classical music playing from the gallery cafe at the top of the steps. Here, the speakers are not followed by the echo of the general assembly. A young man named Ethan holds the floor:
“I’m visiting from Occupy Los Angeles,” he begins, “and this is the fifth #occupy I’ve been to,” which draws cheers from the two-dozen standing and seated around him.
“A lot of people are here just because they want to see what’s going on, just because there’s a large crowd,” he says, suggesting that the group needs to inform people about what’s going on.
“A lot of people are here to learn,” he says.
Crowd has thinned out noticeably as the temperature begins to chill. The smell of marijuana is in the air. Organizer reminds folks about the 7PM general assembly.
“We are the revolution, and we are free!” a young woman reads into the microphone from her notebook.
A few in the crowd dressed in black and wearing Guy Fawkes masks.
“We are the 99%”.
“We are the 99%,” the crowd responds.
“Revolution,” they echo.
“You guys are amazing,” the cheerleader announces and the music starts pumping again.
“See you guys tomorrow?” the young woman in front of me asks her friends.
Yep. And the crowd thins out once more…
Our Luke Brocki writes:
Shit’s about to get loud on the Howe side of the VAG. You’ve heard of drum circles, but a drum set circle?
“I feel drum circles create a real positive energy vortex that brings awareness to the movement in a non-violent way. When you’ve got drummers drumming and people dancing, it brings a real positive energy, ” says Clay Edger, one of the drummers, “it’s gonna get funky.”
Luke Brocki tracks down VPD spokesperson Constable Jana McGuinness.
“It seems really positive and we haven’t had any incidents of note today at all,” McGuinness says, “and we’ve probably got crowds – they peaked around four, maybe five thousand.”
“No arrests. So far, very good. Really positive, people are having that opportunity to express their views.”
Listen to the whole interview:
Editor’s note: VPD spokesperson Const. Jana McGuinness says the fire department is in charge of managing safety hazards on the protest site, not the police: “The Fire Department’s actually doing the control here for anything that’s dangerous in terms of combustibles”.
Luke Brocki reports:
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got a mess tent! Bags of onions, boxes of mangoes and avocados. They’re planning to be here as long as the protesters remain. The big problem right now is the cops shutting down their propane burner, so they’re serving up cold soups, but looking for partnerships with local businesses… So far no one has agreed to help.
“We’re accepting food donations if there is anyone else that wants to drop them off and we’ll make sure they end up in someone’s belly,” explains Brian, of Food Not Bombs.
“We want to keep it going as long as people are here to eat – we want to feed the movement.”
Listen to the whole interview:
Our Luke Brocki interviews Tom A, over at the media tent, discussing the leaderless organization of the committee and the logistics of their operation. “We’ve got a generator, and that’s supplying us with power, and we’ve also got some solar panels we’re trying to setup right now. Originally the Vancouver Art Gallery was going to give us power but somebody wrote a very nasty letter on behalf of the group, even though it was just somebody’s personal opinion, and they decided not to give us any power.”
“It’s not organized at all. What happens is, somebody notices a demand for whatever, just like the extension cord that was just donated to us and they go, hey, here you go, problem solved… The wireless internet was donated by someone who was not part of any of the pre-planning meetings. We realize that we all have the same common goal, and we just collaborate together to get it done.”
Listen to the whole interview:
The first march of #OccupyVancouver has got underway, with thousands of protesters making their way down Hornby Street towards the water before turning around and coming back up Howe. Chants heard include:
“Hungry? Eat the rich,” called out by two children, “We are the 99%”, and “People are more important”.
Those not on the march are currently dancing to hip hop beats pumped by a DJ from the Art Gallery steps. A young man with a red headband has just taken the mic, stopping the music, and declared that the Occupy Movement has made the front page of the Globe and Mail. “And we are not protesters, we’re a movement,” he tells the cheering crowd.
“We’re living in an age of instant communication, so call your friends and get them down here!” declares another man, seizing the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, according to what I’ve just been told we are 5,000 people! This is the city of Greenpeace. This is where this whole thing started through Adbusters magazine. Call your friends!”
A police officer standing on Hornby street wears a large, square backpack with a microphone protruding from it. I ask him what the device is and he informs me it’s a microphone of sorts. Spotting “LRAD” printed on a control panel on the side of the device, I ask him if it’s the fabled and highly-contentious sonic weapon. He informs me that it’s not, and that LRAD is the marker of a number of acoustic amplification systems.
Our Derek Bedry speaks with Ace Porter, 25, long-time activist and mother of a 7-month old girl. Porter conceived the “Kid Zone”, a safe area cordoned off by ribbons and flags where children are ostensibly safe and protected amongst the protest. “We need a place where families can come and make it their own,” Porter says, “and feel that they’re a part of the movement.” According to Porter, because the movement’s issues apply to families, this type of space is necessary. She says the kids zone will be supported by donations and volunteer work, and Porter hopes to keep it running for the duration of the protest.
Just chased an unrelated protest regarding animal rights around Robson Street. Upon return the crowd has swelled considerably at the Art Gallery. Two officers wandering the perimeter offered an “educated guess” of 2,500 people. Moderators still sorting out procedures, two hours in.
The “mic check” echoes have gotten noticeably quieter as the setup of language translators approaches 15 minutes. “Okay, we’re going to get back on track,” a female voice calls into the microphone.
“We’re going to talk about consensus. Participants can agree or disagree with a proposal in the following ways when a group is testing for consensus:
“Agreement: I support the proposal and am willing to help implement it.
“Reservations: I have reservations about the proposal but if the vast majority support it I am willing to let it pass.
“Standing Aside: I cannot support this proposal and will not help implement it but do not want to stop the group or block the proposal.”
“Get to the point!” A young man yells, as clarification is sought on the hand symbol for standing aside. Resolved, the organizers begin speaking again:
“Block: I have a fundamental disagreement with the proposal that must be addressed and has not been resolved. A block always stops a proposal from being agreed upon. It expresses an objection. You cannot live with that proposal. It means, I object, here is why, and I may not be able to continue participating.
“The general assembly will be striving for 100% consensus, meaning not many reservations, and no one is blocking.” Moderators ask people to raise their hands to respond to any questions. “Do we agree upon this?”
Jazz hands wash through the crowd.
Organizers announce that a generator has arrived and someone speaks up on the PA. “You need a microphone and I’ve got one right here!” The crowd cheers. Over the mic an organizer suggests the PA be used in conjunction with the human mic. Protestors show their approval with jazz hands, the sign language symbol for applause.
#OccupyVancouver officially underway. Organizers, without a working public address system, call out to the crowd, “mic check”. The crowd echoes it back and the call is repeated until the volume grows to the desired level as everyone figures it out. Committee meetings will commence in five minutes, an organizer informs the group. A minute later the organizers speak again, explaining the way the “mic check” works. Rather than applause, the now-infamous jazz handsmake their second appearance.
Organizers report that the City just shut off the power for the public address system. According to one of the protest organizers, “the movement did not acquiesce to a meeting with them [the city],” says James “Facilitator”, who declined to give his full name. James, who claims to be the founder of the Vancouver Zeitgeist chapter, is hopeful the City will call him back and indicate the power will be turned back on.
Police have started arriving but the mood is appreciably light. A group of officers stands chuckling amongst the gathering protestors and media, now numbering about 150. Angel D, 22, says officers showed up last night between midnight and 2am and offered her and her friends blankets. “They just approached us and asked us if we were okay. They were really nice about it. There’s going to be a lot of people here who come unprepared.”
Good morning and welcome to The Dependent Magazine’s live blog coverage of the Occupy Vancouver protests. Around 7.00am protestors began arriving at the north lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery, erecting a few small tents. Portable toilets have been setup and some of the mainstream press has arrived. A lot of sleepy faces and early risers sitting in their camp chairs smoking cigarettes. A lot of smiles, too.