Defiance Breaks Out at Day of Defiance in Vancouver
by DOD • Saturday May 24, 2003
Vancouver’s Day of Defiance began at 7:30am on Friday, May 23, as about 20 protesters entered the Hotel Vancouver where premier Gordon Campbell was planning to have a morning prayer and breakfast. Protesters broke into several groups and walked into the hotel through different doors. Police stopped one group in the lobby and forced them to leave the building. They screamed, “This is class war!” and “Fuck you yuppie parasites!” as they were pushed outside. Another group was stopped just after walking in through an entrance and a police officer grabbed a person by the arm and pushed the protester out the door. The different protester groups met up, marched around the building and up to the other entrances. A few protesters managed to open a door a second time and “disturb the peace” of the ruling class by screaming inside. Security and police eventually locked both side doors.
The Day of Defiance snake march against the British Columbia Liberal party’s capitalist policies and cuts to social programs began at 12 noon at the Burrard Skytrain station downtown. Hundreds of protesters, including indigenous people, residents of the Downtown Eastside, union workers, and anti-capitalist youth wearing masks, marched through the streets for many hours. The march made stops at different locations, and at the Delta Hotel on Hastings Street indigenous people spoke out against Delta’s involvement in the Sun Peaks resort, which is destroying the land of the Secwepemc people in B.C.’s interior. One protester also smeared bloody menstrual pads on the hotel’s windows.
Masked anti-capitalists dragged newspaper boxes into the streets at two points during the march, and a couple people responded each time by dragging the boxes back into place, while the protesters around them asked these “peaceful protesters” to respect the principles of the march which had been handed out earlier in the day (including a respect for diversity of tactics and a commitment to economic disruption) and the confrontational attitude of the Day of Defiance. Masked-up rebels ran back and forth through the march to confuse the police and spray-painted “No Police State” on the street.
The march ended as protesters charged through a bicycle police line into the Sinclair Centre, sang songs and recounted Vancouver working class history. Police appeared to be very angry and frustrated that they were unable to prevent protesters from entering the building, and seemed afraid of what might happen next. The police also mobilized their “Public Order Unit” riot squad to stand outside one entrance of the complex.