Occupy movement changes protest tactics

The self-proclaimed “99 per cent” are beginning to occupy more than just Kerry Park.

The self-proclaimed “99 per cent” are beginning to occupy more than just Kerry Park.

Armed with signs, complaints and a fully functional website (www.occupykelowna.org), the group increased efforts to get their word out this past weekend.

On Friday, protesters occupied the pedestrian overpass on Harvey Avenue.

About 10 people waved signs and Canadian flags at cars that passed by.

On Saturday, the movement held an Occupy the Polls event, where city council candidates were invited to meet the public and explain their solutions to social issues in Kelowna.

Tisha Kalmanovitch was the first councillor candidate to speak to the group of approximately 15 occupiers.

“I believe activism is extremely important; it shows that we actually have a healthy democracy,” said Kalmanovitch.

She said that she wasn’t thrilled about the light that’s been shone on the occupiers.

“Discontent has to be expressed. It’s unfortunate that is not recognized by governments and also by mainstream media,” Kalmanovitch said.

“We should be celebrating when people come out: That is good news for our democracy.”

Kalmanovitch expressed concern for those affected by the boom-bust economic cycle. “If business is so good at running the economy, why do we constantly have to suffer the boom-bust cycle?”

That affects real people’s daily lives, she added.

“All they want to do is go to work and earn a living. Their whole lives are tossed into turmoil.

“They’re made to feel inadequate; they’re made to feel like losers. It’s not right.”

Over the last few weeks, Occupy Kelowna has also kept itself organized with meetings to discuss various objectives—some of which resulted in this past weekend’s events.

Minutes from the meetings can be found on the Occupy Kelowna website.

“This is just the beginning,” said Occupy movement protester Wes Kmet.