Occupy Protesters march on Parliament for anniversary

The Public Servants Alliance of Canada joined the Occupy movement in a march on Parliament Hill Monday afternoon to coincide with the new session of Parliament.

The march marked the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. About 100 people turned out for the rally in Ottawa, held concurrently with Occupy protests around the world.

“I want the message to be heard, that these cuts this government are making are going to affect all of us right across the country,” said Chris Aylward, national vice-president of PSAC.

Over 18,000 PSAC members have received letters from the government saying they might lose their jobs, Aylward said.

Members of various Occupy movements from across Ontario came to the rally, including protesters from Toronto, Ottawa and London. The groups met at 1 p.m. at Confederation Park.

Police stopped traffic on Elgin and Wellington streets while protestors descended on Parliament Hill.

A banner reading “Stop [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper” was at the forefront of the march as the crowd chanted anti-Harper slogans such as “Throw him in jail, with no bail.”

“For a lot of the people here it seems like stopping Harper is their focus, but for a lot of us it’s questioning the entire system,” said Anthony Verberckmoes, from Occupy London. “Questioning the idea of putting faith in political leaders, and whose interests they really represent.”

Several people spoke to the protestors from the steps leading to the Peace Tower, including Larry Rousseau from PSAC and Sid Ryan, the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour. Later, people were invited to participate in a “People’s Parliament” demonstration and guerrilla gardening.

Occupy Wall Street is a campaign which criticizes the current political and economic system. Occupy movements have cropped up in cities all over the world following a protest on New York’s Wall Street last fall.

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