Home > Olympics, Riot 2010 > After the Opening Ceremony

After the Opening Ceremony

The resistance is alive and well in Vancouver

Yesterday in Vancouver, several years of planning culminated in the opening of the most expensive spectacle this so-called country has ever seen.

Vancouver is pretty crazy right now. There were hundreds of thousands of people in the city’s streets today, and there are billboards and cops everywhere. It’s all quite overwhelming. Yesterday, VANOC’s corporate circus held its opening ceremonies, and the Olympic Torch Relay finally ended.

The Olympic Torch Relay finally fucking ended. I’ve been battling that stupid torch for months; was involved in nearly a dozen anti-torch actions across Ontario, and had a bunch of friends arrested in the process. (Very few charges though, because charges are bad press for the sponsors, and in Guelph, the cops were just lying to cover their asses–true story).

Yesterday was a tremendous way to end the torch relay, and an awesome way to “welcome” the Games to Vancouver.

Two separate neighbourhoods in East Vancouver successfully kept the torch out of their community, causing two separate re-routes.

In the Downtown Eastside, a community lead a sit-down blockade which was joined by allies and supporters. The Relay had no choice but to re-route. It happened right in front the world’s media, and was a lead story all day here. This was people from one of the country’s poorest neighbourhoods standing up against the fucked up priorities of a city that would spend more on Olympic security than on social programs. Good on ’em. And you can be assured that this will not be the last the world will here from the DTES this month. Tent City starts on Monday.

When the torch reached Commercial Drive, it was met by a bit of a different protest. Here, multiple blockades were erected to keep the torch off of the Drive. From a rooftop, activists coördinated the movement of protesters between blockade points, so they could stay ahead of the re-routing rally. Bricks, barbed wire and people dressed in black had a presence at this action.

Later in the afternoon, somewhere between 1500 and 3000 people packed the square at the Vancouver Art Gallery for the 2010 Welcoming Committee‘s “Take Back Our City” Rally. There were great speeches. But we were on the other side of the square holding banners, making media, and rounding up friends. I didn’t really get to hear the speeches.

We marched from there to BC Place, stopping a couple of times for speeches. Shut Down the Tar Sands! No Olympics on Stolen Native Land! Homes Not Games! etc.

The march was lead by Indigenous elders, women and warriors. Lots of Unity/Warrior flags flying. Lots of friends up at the front of the march. We were way further back, but kknowing they were at the front made me feel good to be marching under the “No Olympics on
Stolen Native Land” banner again.

Behind that Indigenous contingency which was lead by the elders, was what can be most straightforwardly be described a ‘black bloc,’ that I don’t want to oversimply things, especially since it was really fucking hard to see what was going on up at the front with as many as 1000 people ahead of us. We were near the middle of the march for most of it.

In the march were way more contingencies than good be accounted for, but notably including an anti-colonial ‘bloc’ marching under the slogan “No One Is Illegal. Canada is Illegal” (we were part of this section, sort of), lots of different environmental groups (one of them marching with a giant fucking salmon puppet. There were puppets, and stilt walkers, and marching bands, and a street hockey game, and all sorts of shit I didn’t see or notice.

Eventually we backed up at BC Place when we were met with a hard line Vancouver Police backed up by RCMP on horseback. We never really saw the ‘riot squad,’ but reporters told us that they were just around the corner. As they always are.

It was not to long that a callout was made by someone with a bullhorn or on the loudspeaker that “strong” people were needed at the front to help “the elders” hold the line. We also got reports that things were starting to get tense between cops and protester. nowing that we had many friends on the line, I and some friends rushed into the thick of things to help support our friends and allies.

The police got pushy, people pushed back. Things escalated, deiescalated, back and forth, and never got much past the pushing and shoving point. Some shit got thrown, but most of it was plastic, and none of it was bricks or anything like that–mostly signs and pylons. Mostly just pushing and shoving from both sides.

The police claim that someone threw a bag of vinegar at them, I heard reports that one or two protesters were pepper sprayed; I cant confirm either. Trusted reports sound like there were three arrests. I know we didn’t tae any hostages home with us. Fuck the police.

Eventually, almost all of our friends had moved away from the police line, and I did the same. After all, I’m not here to fight cops.

We stayed at the protest as long as it made sense to. We didn’t want to leave while others were still engaged with the police–who grew in numbers as the protest dwindled. We are supposed to be in solidarity with each other. Eventually it didn’t make sense for us to stay anymore. So we left.

All in all, it was a good day.

It did hurt a little though, as we were having dinner, watching Gretzky role around the streets of Vancouver in that stupid sponsor car with that stupid fucking torch.

I hate that fucking torch and I should have been there to block that stupid road.

Stupid Olympics. Revenge soon. 2010 Heart Attack in less than 8 hours. Sleep now.

###

[Its too late right now–I need sleep. I will update this post with hyperlinks later (Ill also edit for spelling). check http://2010.mediacoop.ca for up to date, on the ground reports from Vancouver]

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  1. suhmontay
    February 13, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Great recap of the day. Thanks for writing. See you on the streets.

  2. melissa
    February 13, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Appreciate the update, from your personal perspective.
    God bless you folks tomorrow.

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