Police bring out heavy-duty weapons for Vancouver Olympic protest on day two

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      Serious police iron was out in the streets of Vancouver today (February 13), the second day of the 2010 Olympics.

      At least two of what looked like M4 carbines--the newer version of the iconic Vietnam-era American assault rifle, the M-16– were in the hands of officers of the Vancouver Police Department.

      These weapons are standard issue  for U.S. forces in modern wars like those in  Iraq and Afghanistan

      One carbine even had what appeared to be a laser guide, which would make the light, easy-to-handle, and accurate  fully automatic weapon dead-on on target.

      It wasn’t known whether or not  the rifles carried rubber or plastic bullets instead of live rounds.

      In poorer nations dependent on U.S. military gear, these guns are adoringly referred to as “baby Armalites”. These babies can fire at least 700 full-metal jacket rounds a minute.

      The weapons came out as police started to shadow and later confront several demonstrators who messed up the downtown streets of the Olympic city in a free-for-all event dubbed 2010 Heart Attack.

      At one point during the rowdy protest, the demonstrators grabbed a long ladder, the closest they got to having  their  own  weaponry.

      One police officer wore a vest studded with several rounds of shotgun shells. He cradled a short barrelled shotgun–no shoulder stock– with a hand grip for easier pump loading.

      Every officer had standard automatic pistols.

      Also in public display were tear-gas guns as police donned body pads and helmets with visors. There were, of course, the old-fashioned antiriot batons.

      “From where are you gentlemen?” a towering officer who appeared to be the leader of a police squad asked the Straight team on West Georgia Street.  

      He had a pleasant-sounding voice as the demonstrators crossed the intersection of Thurlow Street.

      When told that  that the crew was from  the Straight, the officer said the team could take all the pictures it wanted of police and their gear.

      Asked what he thought of the scene unfolding before his eyes, the officer responded: “It’s a great sporting event.” He may have been referring to the Olympics.

      Pressed further, the officer added something like: “Everybody has the right to protest. That’s why we’re here in Canada.”

      There wasn’t any chance to ask why assault rifles were out on this cold morning.

      Comments

      50 Comments

      Shawn

      Feb 13, 2010 at 1:55pm

      Everyone has a right to protest, no one has a right to destroy other peoples property. The guns are welcome! The idiots brought this on, the police did not.

      visigoth`

      Feb 13, 2010 at 2:17pm

      Too bad you were not able to get a better quote. Doesn't really stir the loins does it?

      anonymist

      Feb 13, 2010 at 2:36pm

      Any photos of these "M4 Carbines" in question? And it's surprising that every officer had a sidearm since in all the photos I have seen so far only supervisors (usually without yellow vests) standing away from the protests have had any arms, including the "non-lethal" shotguns, identified by areas of orange paint on the weapon.

      Rational

      Feb 13, 2010 at 2:45pm

      Give me a break, trying to make the protesters out to be david vs. goliath. These losers need to be more interested in finding a job and making there own living. Desperate cries for childish attention.

      GC

      Feb 13, 2010 at 2:52pm

      So where are the pictures?

      Everyone has the right to protest in Canada, but no one has a right to carry an assault rifle, when the make-believe "fear" index is at low, and the force is being used against protesters.

      Strategis

      Feb 13, 2010 at 3:19pm

      Assault rifles on the streets of Vancouver - signs of "progress" - thanks to the 2010 Olympics! Anarchists are not new, they have been pulling these antics for decades all over the world. But assault rifles on the streets of Vancouver are new. This is the part of the Olympic legacy that I decry.

      Fred Doucet

      Feb 13, 2010 at 3:51pm

      The Georgia Straight is doing more harm than good by describing these goons as protesters -- they support none of the causes the Straight has prided itself in giving voice to.
      Shame on the GS for getting too wrapped up in its adrenaline to report an honest story

      Strategis

      Feb 13, 2010 at 4:00pm

      ERT guys & certain ghost cars are equipped with said weapons. trust me from experience - this gear is all around you if you are around any venue.
      As for protesting; all for it.

      KB pollock

      Feb 13, 2010 at 4:09pm

      Frankly, it seems to be one gang of thugs -- the police -- or the other -- the anarchists. I'm a lot more afraid of the ones with guns,

      Wrenkin

      Feb 13, 2010 at 4:16pm

      Automatic pistols? Are you sure? Do you mean semi-automatic?