Tonight, the Vancouver Police Department issued a terse five-line news release after a climate protest blocked downtown traffic.
Here's a line-by-line translation of what was said and what was meant.
What the VPD said in the first sentence: "The protest that impacted downtown Vancouver today has ended."
What the VPD meant by those words: We're not going to use the words "Extinction Rebellion" because we don't want to give this loosely affiliated international group of climate activists any more profile than they already have. We're not even going to mention the word "climate", let alone "environment" in our news release. This is solely going to be treated as a law-enforcement matter, even though carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are at their highest levels in 400,000 years. But if you want to know the truth, many police officers are as scared shitless about climate change as those protesters. That's because we're going to have to deal with the mayhem that climate change will bring in the future.
What the VPD said in the second sentence: "Between 12 and 7 p.m., police were forced to arrest six people for mischief after they stopped traffic and erected structures blocking a main intersection."
What the VPD meant by those words: We're not even going to say which intersection was blocked, even though everyone knows it occurred at Robson and Burrard. We're not going to release the suspects' names—but rest assured, they are upstanding citizens who've decided to join the climate rebellion only because governments have broken the social contract by putting their futures in jeopardy. We said they've been arrested for "mischief" but we're not sure we even want the Crown to press charges. That's because if this happens, our officers are going to have to spend a ton of time in court. We're not even going to discuss what these structures were. Nor are we going to mention that there was another protest by teenagers on Granville. Over there, they were telling shoppers that the fast-fashion industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions every year than even the airlines. By saying we were "forced" to arrest the protesters, maybe the media will overlook that.
What the VPD said in the third sentence: "Protestors perched themselves on top of the structures and refused to leave the area, despite several requests, and then warnings, from officers."
What the VPD meant by those words: Damn it, they made things more difficult for us with this stunt. What bothers us about these Extinction Rebellion people is that they're far more creative than any other protest group we've ever encountered. It takes a hell of a lot of time to deal with them.
What the VPD said in the fourth sentence: "The protest was peaceful with no major incidents until the arrests."
What the VPD meant by those words: These Extinction Rebellion folks are actually really nice people and we know that they're on the right side of history. They are gracious, joyful, and respectful. Unlike some other protest groups, they actually realize it's our job to clear the streets. We don't dislike them at all. None of them had a negative word about the police, even as they were being hauled away.
What the VPD said in the fifth sentence: "No additional information is available at this time."
What the VPD meant by those words: Well, we actually have a lot more information—the names of those who were arrested, why they were protesting, and what's likely going to happen to them legally. But we don't want to share that because it just might encourage more of these demonstrations. In reality, we're relieved that there weren't any retired Vancouver cops participating in this protest. In the U.K., retired cops have expressed support for Extinction Rebellion. Hell, they even made a video about it. We're hoping to avoid that in Vancouver.