Protesters at the Occupy encampment in downtown Vancouver say they have no plans to go anywhere until their demands are met, but it is not yet clear what those demands are, or how they can be met.
More than a week after the camp was set up on the lawn of the city's art gallery on West Georgia Street, the area has been transformed into a small village with dozens of weather-proofed tents, a donations-based kitchen, medic station, resource library and centre square.
Somewhere between 100 and 200 people are estimated to be living at the site and many say they're ready to stay as long as it takes to have their demands met.
But Mayor Gregor Robertson says city staff are now trying to negotiate a peaceful end to the protest.
Robertson says the protesters will eventually have to go, but he prefers not to have to physically remove them.
The mayor notes the group isn't breaking any city bylaws because the space they are occupying is actually provincial land.
"The city does lease that land for the art gallery, but ultimately on provincial land, the city's bylaws do not apply" he notes.
But the protesters say no one has officially asked them to leave or begun any negotiations, and some thought the mayor should come down and talk to them directly.
"He or someone he sends [needs to] actually comes down and speaks to the general assembly," said one unidentified protester during the camp's meeting on Monday night.
Group reaffirms right to free speech
Meanwhile the members of the protest spent several hours workshopping a position that reaffirmed their right to freedom of speech and assembly.
However, the leaderless group remained divided on what they should do next. Some wanted to negotiate with the city. Others, like activist Lauren Gill, did not:
"I don't think we should be negotiating. I think we should be making demands. I think we have a lot of people here," Gill told the assembly.
"I think that it's not a matter of negotiation because we're not on the same playing field. There's a lot more of us, than there are of them and it's a matter of negotiating and meeting in the middle. It's a matter of making demands and ensuring they're met."
But when asked what those demands are, Gill said that remains up to each individual to decide for themselves.
"The demands are different for everyone," she said.
Over the weekend many of the protesters marched to five major bank outlets in downtown Vancouver to protest deregulation in the banking industry.
The protest camp was set-up on Oct. 15 as part of an international movement, following the success of the Occupy Wall Street camp in downtown New York. The protests have generally denounced corporate greed and the influence of large corporations on government policy.
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