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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stand up! Speak out!

On October, 29, while most of us were going about our daily business, the BC legislature approved Bill 13, which amends the city charters of Vancouver, Richmond and Whistler. This new law makes it legal for police to enter a home, seize “anti-Olympics” signs, and arrest the occupants.

On November 25, while her audience waited patiently at the Vancouver Library, Amy Goodman, a respected American journalist , author, and commentator for Democracy Now, was held up for an hour and a half at the Canadian border. (“Journalist to speak at UVic held at border”, Nov. 27 Times Colonist.) Border guards demanded her speech notes, her new book, and access to her computer. Was she carrying drugs? Was her passport out of date? Did she have a violent criminal record? Or, worst yet, was she going to talk about the Olympics? The answer is no to all counts, even the Olympics.

What we are experiencing here in BC is intimidation and harassment, low level terrorist tactics used in Europe in the 1930s to scare people into compliance with the party line. The party is VANOC and the party line is written by the sponsoring corporations. We all know from history that fear leads to paralysis. Public outrage leads to action.

Roberta Cory

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Torch Relay Protest

Above: Snakes in the Grass protesters wait for the Olympic torch at the Blue Bridge in Victoria, taking the opportunity to educate RCMP Constable Ross Wallace on the finer points of corporate bad behaviour.

On Friday, October 30, 2009, at the start of the Torch Relay in Victoria, staged two demonstrations against some of the worst sponsors of the Olympics and the overall outrageous spending on the relay at the expense of social services cuts. Early in the morning five hardy souls braved the cold and damp to be at the Blue Bridge when the torch was passed from one runner to the next and carried over the bridge. We were actually personally escorted to the other side of the entrance by Constable Wallace of the RCMP so that we would be better positioned when the torch arrived. (The above photo shows four of us just before we moved across the road.) The torch was an hour or two late in arriving, so we had lots of time to educate the RCMP and the media about our objections to various sponsors of the Olympics and our outrage at the $30 million cost of the torch relay, of which $20 million is taxpayer funded and the rest by mainly Coca Cola, notorious for unethical and criminal acts around the world, and RBC, the major financier of the Alberta tar sands, the most environmentally destructive mega-project on the planet.

Two vans full of cheerleaders passed by, the first loudly touting the virtues of Coke and the second singing the praises of RBC. Shouts of “SHAME!” and “BOO!” drowned them out as we waved and bobbed our protest signs right next to the vans. Here are some shots of a few of our signs.

As the torch carrier finally approached, the next runner engaged us in conversation, objecting to our negative view of many aspects of the Olympics. Naturally, he was completely oblivious to them and totally hyped about his role in the relay. At the passing of the flame from one torch to the next, we made a lot of noise and bobbed our signs up and down, attracting media attention and making it impossible for them to photograph the event without including us. All of this took place just a few feet away from the two relay runners.

In spite of a great deal of media attention, including multiple photographs, videos and interviews, our demonstration at the Blue Bridge was not reported on anywhere in the mainstream media, except for a few seconds of fame in a few of the local TV news reports.

In the afternoon we joined No2010 in “Five Ring Circus”, an anti-Olympics festival in Centennial Square at Victoria City Hall (see above). More of our protest signs are shown below.