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Occupy Toronto supporters mark 1-year anniversary

Some supporters of the Occupy Toronto movement gathered at the downtown park they camped out at for more than a month in 2011 to mark the one-year anniversary of their protest.

About 10 demonstrators marched from King and Bay streets to St. James Park, at Jarvis and King streets, for the daylong anniversary event. Click the group’s Facebook page for more info.

Approximately 50 members of the movement have gathered around the gazebo with signs promoting various messages.

One artist has set up an easel and says he is promoting love through painting.

Several Occupy protesters pitched tents and slept at the downtown park for 40 days to show solidarity with other Occupy demonstrations around the world — most notably the protest that started the movement in September 2011, Occupy Wall Street.

The Toronto protesters were eventually forced to leave the park after being served eviction notices.

They’re expected to take over the park on Monday with various events, including a garlic planting “jam” meant to “ward off the vampires sucking the life out of the city,” but this time they’ll leave by 11 p.m.

In Montreal, three people were arrested as about 50 demonstrators gathered in the downtown square across from the stock-exchange building where protesters set up their local camp a year ago.

People made speeches and several dozen then marched through downtown streets, chanting along the way.

The protesters, many of them wearing black and with their faces covered, disrupted traffic.

At one point, they tried to enter the downtown offices of Quebec’s Caisse de depot pension-fund manager, but the doors were locked. They also entered the offices of engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, but they were chased out of the building.

A few minutes later, riot-equipped police rushed the small crowd as it made its way along Ste-Catherine street, one of the city’s main downtown arteries. That’s when the arrests were made.

A Montreal police spokesman says three people were charged under a municipal bylaw, with disturbing the peace, but were later released.

The worldwide demonstrations were meant to highlight social and economic inequality.

On Sept. 17, members of Occupy Toronto and Occupy Ottawa marched on Parliament Hill to protest Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s budget bill. That protest coincided with the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protest in Manhattan.

With a report from The Canadian Press