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Anti-Olympic Protesters Sweep through Downtown Vancouver

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo http://www.macon.com/284/story/1021351.html Sat, Feb. 13, 2010 Protesters sweep
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 13, 2010
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Sat, Feb. 13, 2010
      Protesters sweep through downtown Vancouver

      Chanting "We ain't got no tickets!" and "Homes Not Games," more than
      1,000 protesters swept through downtown Vancouver toward the Olympic
      opening ceremony Friday but were held back by police before they could
      block spectators from entering the celebration.

      Billed as an action "against capitalism and colonization," the first of
      two major street rallies mobilized demonstrators ranging from aboriginal
      rights groups to advocates for the homeless, all aiming to mount one of
      the biggest-ever organized protests against the Olympic Games.

      "There's never been an Olympic protest like this. This is a first," said
      Chris Shaw, spokesman for 2010 Watch, which claims Canadian citizens are
      bearing the brunt of the multibillion-dollar cost of a sporting event
      they say will benefit land developers and corporate sponsors.

      "It was one of the largest rallies in Vancouver history, and the protest
      led right up to the door of the (International Olympic Committee)," Shaw

      The demonstrations never presented a threat to Olympic events, which
      commenced without a hitch even as several hundred protesters were still
      shouting and waving flags outside, held back by a stern line of police
      on horseback.

      At one point, masked, black-clad demonstrators carrying an anarchist
      flag pushed briefly toward police, who forcefully pushed back.

      But during most of the four-hour rally, a small number of police on
      bicycles simply followed and observed.

      Rain and a chilly breeze did most of the work, and as the ceremony
      inside got well underway, only a handful remained outside.

      Shouting matches erupted with counter-demonstrators who showed up with
      patriotic red maple leaf banners, shouting: "They say protest, we say

      "Get a job!" yelled one group of young men.

      The atmosphere in most of Vancouver was festive throughout the day, with
      spectators lining the sidewalks and whooping as the Olympic torch relay
      made its way to the city center.

      But speakers at the rally denounced Canada's failure to sign treaties
      with its aboriginal First Nations, cutbacks in funding for education and
      the arts, and development of tar sands oil in Alberta.

      "With Glowing Hearts, We Kill the Arts," said one sign, referring to
      Canada's motto for the Games.

      "We and our children are going to be paying for these Games for
      decades," said Leo Hunt, a 55-year-old sawmill worker.

      Earlier in the day, the Olympic torch's progress through Vancouver's
      impoverished Downtown Eastside was blocked twice when protesters sat in
      the street and blocked the route, prompting in one case a 20-minute

      In both cases, police arrived on horseback to protect the runners, but
      the relay was diverted to avoid a confrontation.

      Dozens of people shouted "Shame on you!" as the torch made its way down
      the street, only a few hours after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
      had carried the flame to resounding applause on the other, wealthier end
      of the city.

      "They should be building homes for people, not spending it on the
      Olympics," said Beatrice Starr, one of several women who blocked the
      road near Victory Park.

      "So we sat right in the road there. Yup. And I'd do it again."

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord We├┐rdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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