POLITICS

Occupy Fredericton Camp Dismantled, Mayor Says

01/03/2012 08:22 EST | Updated 03/04/2012 05:12 EST
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FREDERICTON - A small Occupy protest camp in Fredericton was dismantled without incident Tuesday in what was one of the last such demonstrations in the country.

A city work crew quickly took down the encampment housing three protesters beginning around 5 a.m., Mayor Brad Woodside said.

Workers took down a wood frame tent in a small square near city hall, Woodside said. One city police officer was on hand to observe.

Woodside had set a deadline of Jan. 1 for the protesters to leave the square and he said he warned them again during a final meeting on New Year's Eve that action would be taken.

"I said if there's no movement on your side ... and you insist on residing, that's unacceptable," Woodside said in an interview.

"I've tried to bring this to an amicable conclusion."

The camp had been in place since Oct. 15.

Woodside said he met with the protesters about 10 times during the 2 1/2 months their encampment was up.

One of the protesters said the group will meet with a lawyer to consider their next move and raised the possibility of a legal challenge.

Arthur Taylor said the group offered to dismantle the camp if the city issued an eviction notice.

"That was refused," he said, adding that the mayor issued a notice saying they would be fined if they didn't leave.

Taylor said the people in the camp on Tuesday included one other protester from Fredericton and visitors from the movement in Halifax and Moncton.

Most Occupy protests across Canada have been dismantled in recent weeks.

In Halifax, Occupy protesters filed complaints against police, alleging officers used excessive force during their Remembrance Day eviction from a downtown park.

The Manitoba government evicted protesters from the Occupy Winnipeg camp just a few days before Christmas, saying it was doing so because of safety concerns.