Olympic demonstration fizzles as protesters and police stand down from confrontation

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      Despite the desire of some protesters to push hard against heavily reinforced police lines at B.C. Place, the afternoon rally went off without any repeat of previous Vancouver riots.

      A total of around 1,500 people had gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery around 3 p.m. The march gathered steam as it went down West Georgia Street and then along Richards Street for a block before weaving down Robson Street to Beatty.

      The Straight saw one protester dragged away, but no arrests have been confirmed to date. The closest things came to getting ugly was after the sun set and the rains began afresh just before 7 p.m.

      Reporters at one point formed a human filling in a police and protester sandwich, especially after a pylon was thrown along with a bag full of marbles.

      Police calmly repeated the order, "Move back" with no emotion and engaging no protesters with eye contact. Before the crowd thinned, there were defiant cries of, "Get those animals off those horses," directed at police on horses, and "Fuck you Canada," directed at”¦well, Canada.




      Feb 12, 2010 at 10:39pm

      It sounds like good fun was had by all.
      Thanks, protestors - without you this country would be a place of bland conformism to corporate invented and marketed "synth-culture" and "neopolitics". And thank you police, for your professionalism and restraint.
      To all the mindless sports-obsessed members of the matrix of conformity to socially engineered responses -- I trust that you weren't too disturbed by this apparently needless show of intellectualism, conscience, and citizenship.
      I know it bothers you at some deep level that there are even a few people who actually make the effort to understand the world around them, to formulate an informed, independent ethical position on the vital issues of our time, and to act on this as responsible citizens in a free and democratic society, but if you focus hard enough on the sports (physical prowess) spectacles, massive displays of state and corporate sanctioned "art", security rituals, and prize (medals) talk on the media and with the other members of the robotized culture, these feelings of misgiving will quickly pass, and your peace (or absence) of mind will soon be restored. By no means disturb your beautiful mind by reading something like this:
      10 Reasons to Resist 2010

      And definitely don't visit this site:

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      Feb 12, 2010 at 11:05pm

      Kudos to the VPD for taking the high road and resisting the obvious strategy of the taunting soap-dodgers. Kudos also to the media for not giving this undue attention.

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      Mark Stevens

      Feb 13, 2010 at 12:20am

      The protesters I saw were mostly defeated by the optimism and happiness of the general populace. The protesters have no coherent ideas and are generally anarchistic morons who protest the whole city of Vancouver. Perhaps if they had something intelligent to say they wouldn't have to shout it?

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      Feb 13, 2010 at 12:54am

      I was at the Anti-Olympic protest this afternoon at the Art Gallery. What a joke! Anyone who walked by there could plainly see that 50% of the bodies there were just curious bystanders and, in most cases, supporters of the Games. (This was evident by the sheer number of Canada sweaters and Olympic garb!)

      There are, at best, a couple thousand Olympic protesters. The Metro Vancouver area has more than 2 million people living in it. Let's keep this in perspective here. That's not even 1 percent of the population. It's 0.1 percent.

      They made be noisy, but they're a tiny, tiny, tiny minority. The Straight is giving these self-absorbed whiners far too much publicity. The Anti-Olympic movement is a non-movement. It's a fringe group, and their interests are not at all reflective of Vancouver as a whole.

      There are hundreds of thousands - possibly millions - of people who are walking the streets ecstatic that the Games are here. For the next three weeks Vancouver is in the global spotlight. That's the real story.

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      Feb 13, 2010 at 4:26am

      What are the opinions of Vancouverites and other British Columbians and Canadians on the 2010 Olympics? Have any independent groups commissioned a poll to find out? I know that most of my friends are not happy about the cost and the security aspects. But that doesn't necessarily prove anything, as the sample is too small.
      I do believe that for every protestor, there are at least 10 others who are entirely sympathetic to the same cause. There were many diverse concerns relating directly to the 2010 Olympics that were raised at today's protest rally, concerns that are shared by a vast number of Vancouver people. And just because, for instance, many people do not approve of certain aboriginal issues or environmental issues concerning the way these Olympics have been administered, that doesn't mean that they are anti-Olympics per se. They might love watching amateur sports and following the Olympics, its just that they don't like the way certain policies have been implemented. Most people are not purely pro or anti the Olympics. It's a complex issue.
      One of the justifications for hosting the Olympics is to enrich the culture of the world and of our city. The Olympics are touted as an uplifting and character building competition. Watching sports competition and attending colorful cultural events is not the only way to enrich culture; learning about, discussing and acting on social, political, and economic matters that concern us all is part and parcel of being an engaged citizen and being enriched by the events that happen in one's home. Humans anticipate, experience, then retrospectively evaluate their experience, all the while sharing their ideas and feelings with others. This is a huge part of the Olympics legacy. The media plays a vital role in shedding light on and giving voice to the concerns of those who spend a great deal of time researching and evaluating public policies and other issues. Even if there was only one protester raising their voice in concern about some issue, if their argument had merit, then it would be newsworthy. Perhaps more newsworthy than millions of other people mindlessly soaking in a vacuous performance.

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      Feb 13, 2010 at 10:36am

      I support these moron's right to (be wrong) voice their opinions and demonstrate, but as soon as they start smashing windows, injuring police officers, and endangering volunteer drivers safety, I hope the police arrest their criminal (dominant male monkey) asses.

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      Feb 14, 2010 at 1:14am

      Isn't 'T-Bone' a dominant male monkey type name?

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      the kid

      Feb 18, 2010 at 7:49pm

      I wish people like T-bone would stop stealing all the good tags...

      Let's stop collapsing the two days into one. The March on the 12th was an extremely diverse crowd of people. Aside from the activists from DTES there were also many of the old vancouver left there many of whom live in Kits and Kerrisdale too. I even saw my old sociology professor there. Saturday's march clearly had a more disruptive intention but here as well there was a very diverse crowd mostly intent on simply blocking traffic. The video footage in which the police are being violent is not against only the infamous black masked gorilla biscuits. The chief of police himself has differentiated between different types of protestors its too bad that he can't equally apply his sense of discrimination to the various interests he is defending i.e: the liberal government and corporate oppressors like Coke and violent colonizers like the Bay.
      That said, if the chief himself admits the diversity if interests and tactics how do the actions of what looks like about a dozen black blockers merit a total crackdown on the other protests that occurred that day?

      Also, with respect to the idea that only the people who showed up to be counted are against the Olympics, my girlfriend's parents who left Portugal to get away from fascism are in their 60's. They did not make it out that day but they are staunchly opposed to the games for a variety of reasons and they have drawn some very interesting parallels between their experience of fascism in Europe and the processes they have seen occurring in Vancouver during the run-up to the games.

      The police may have pushed the crowd back and the protest may have "fizzled out" but they can't keep back the rising tide.

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