Estimating crowds during demonstrations such as the February 12 anti-Olympic rally is often an iffy proposition.
Veteran community activist Sid Tan placed the number of protesters on the north lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery at around 4,000.
A member of the Chinese Canadian media placed the crowd at 3,000.
Olympic critic Chris Shaw’s ballpark figure is at least 2,000. He’s happy with the number, describing it as “awesome”.
The Vancouver Police Department’s estimate of the protesters who left the Vancouver Art Gallery for the march to B.C. Place is 1,500.
The Straight asked a Vancouver police officer for an estimate as the demonstrators had just started the march from the art gallery and were approaching the intersection of West Georgia and Granville Streets. The answer: “Over a hundred”.
Labour organizer Rob Hellenius believes that protesters have accomplished one significant objective.
Chatting with the Straight in the midst of the standoff between demonstrators and police at the junction of Beatty and Robson streets at one side of B.C. Place, the member organizer of the Public Service Alliance of Canada said that they have shamed Canada before the world.
“The range of issues that are represented is just huge,” Hellenius said, referring to the multitude of concerns brought forward by the protesters.
“It really shames the government of Canada that we have these many issues that we can bring to bear in a protest like this,” Hellenius said as placards declared opposition to issues ranging from the B.C. government’s highway-widening Gateway project to unresolved land claims by First Nations.
“It shows that the Canadian people are starting to wake up,” he said.