Like today, it was also a Tuesday five years ago when unidentified people crossed the lawn of Vancouver city hall in the early hours of March 6, 2007.
They pried open an access panel to a flagpole, cut the metal cable inside it, and brought down what they came for: the Olympic flag.
The next day, a group identifying itself as the Native Warriors Society claimed responsibility.
“We claim this action in honour of Harriet Nahanee, our elder-warrior, who was given a death sentence by the B.C. courts for her courageous stand in defending Mother Earth,” the warriors said in a statement released on March 7, 2007.
They defiantly declared: “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land!”
Except for a photo released by the Native Warrior Society, the flag hasn’t been seen since.
A few days before the fifth year anniversary of this daring raid, the Straight asked one prominent anti-Olympics activist what he has heard regarding the flag.
Chris Shaw, a UBC professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, was among the more prominent critics of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and he moves in a number of activist circles.
Now he just wishes that he has the flag. “If I had it, I’d fly it from my balcony, but no I don’t,” Shaw said in a phone interview.
He added that he didn’t take it because he was in Ghana at that time.
“The rumour I had heard, and again this is going back to you before the Olympics—it was a couple of years after the flag was taken—was that because it could be something that one could be charged for, it was destroyed,” Shaw said. “That’s what I heard.”
Whatever happened to the flag, Shaw tips his hat to the people who took it.
“They have big brass balls,” Shaw said.
Related article: Flag theft linked to history