No Repression Without Response!
Report from Vancouver March in Solidarity with G20 Arrestees
July 5, 2010
A rally began from Vancouver’s China Creek Park yesterday, July 4th, in solidarity with the over 900 people arrested at the G20 summits earlier this week. Before the rally began four police officers attempted to enter the rally and speak with the organizers. Clearly the treatment of organizers in Toronto could make any organizer shy of speaking with police.
A group of masked people quickly amassed in front of them yelling “No cops in the demo!”, an effective and common phrase at demos here over the last year. The police left and did not attempt to interact again with the demo in a formal way.
Banners in the demo read: “We are all the Black Block!” “Solidarity is our Weapon,” “Solidarity against Police Repression,” “Free the Toronto 900,” “Freedom to Assemble,” and “People Before Profit.”
A main goal of the demonstration was to encourage solidarity with all elements and tactics of protest used at the G20. Black masks were distributed at the beginning of the demonstration and people donned them in solidarity with the black block arrestees. The majority of the demo was masked.
It has been said that masking, rather than just concealing ones identity, reveals who we are. In Vancouver, since the Olympics, it is more generalized amongst activists and radicals to take a position against the condemnation of certain protesters and tactics in order to give support to the ‘good’ protesters. Instead many people are arguing that you cannot separate the militants from the community builders. This is not so much an argument to take up with the legal system, as a valuable understanding to come to within our movements.
The demonstration held an intersection that was blocked for 3 hours in April 2008 in an indigenous led solidarity action. At that time, Mohawks from Tyendenaga re-occupying their land against resource extraction in Desronto were facing the threat of an armed police assault. As part of a nation-wide variety of actions, that solidarity demo blocked truck traffic from the Port of Vancouver all the way to the US Border. Likewise, this G20 solidarity demo aimed to disrupt trucking traffic, tossing a wrench into the economic gears. A 2010 Olympics and a Canadian flag were burnt amidst cheers. A speaker made the point that while “
The state is trying to rip out the heart of our resistance by brutalizing and arresting us, we should respond by ripping out the heart of Capitalism “– lifeline of the State. And so solidarity really does become a weapon.
As stated by author Bineshii, “This march was an example of … direct action strategies that community based resistance movements can take.” Soidarity march report by Bineshii at: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/%E2%80%9Cdrop-all-charges-free-all-p… The march then turned back down Clark Dr. pausing again at a few intersections. Some organizers from Toronto spoke about the folks in prison there, police brutality and calls for an inquiry into the police violence. Proceeding over the 1st Ave. viaduct the march made it to Main St. Destination: Cop Shop (police station). Throughout the demo, the banner holders maintained a perimeter, making it difficult for police to come close to people. It is especially important at demonstrations where people are vulnerable to police targeting to stay tight and use back and front banners so the police cannot enter in a group. At the cop shop, another speaker stated,
“I am going to use some harsh words right now, just to warn you. In Toronto, the cops brutalized, intimidated and arrested people. As reported by independent journalists, young women were threatened with gang rape by the police. However, we have to remember that this is not exceptional. This is what the police do everyday: arrests, deportations, beatings, disrupting people’ s entire lives. And this is Democracy. This is what democracy looks like, and this is what we are up against”
The march shouted, “No Justice, No Peace, Fuck the Police!,” “Drop all Charges,” “Police cars up in smoke. Anarchy it ain’t no joke!” and just simply “Fuck the police!” Some people from the neighbourhood joined in the demo and many people grinned and put their fists in the air.
Of course if this was an “objective” article I might also point out that a few people, like one or two, expressed negative sentiments, but we can expect that from a society that brainwashes it’s citizen’s into believing that this is freedom. At one point a man on the sidewalk, unassociated with the demonstration was being agressively hassled by police. The march stopped and surrounded the cops. The man said that police punched him. I found it odd that, at one point, a police officer told me emphatically, almost imploringly that he did not strike the man.
I don’t usually talk to cops, but I gave it a whirl, “Maybe not today, maybe it was yesterday a cop fucked him up. You beat on people in this neighbourhood.” In a surreal twist he agreed with me. Whatever, diplomacy I guess. Seriously, a cop agreed that people in the downtown eastside face frequent beatings by police. What the hey, aren’t they supposed at least lie about shit like that? The demo continued down Hastings to Andy Livingstone park where people worked together to block cameras as the black block changed back into street clothes. While leaving, two people were surrounded by cops just out of sight. As one cop reached for something on his belt he said “You’re not so tough now, huh?”
The two managed to run back to the demo. Everyone then left in larger groups. The demo lasted for 4 hours covering a total of 12 kilometers. The sentiment of those in the streets was, “What’s four hours compared to the 200 and counting for the current G20 prisoners.”
No repression without response! Drop all Charges! Free All Prisoners! Link to “straight talk” article explaining “Why Solidarity with the Black Bloc?”: http://www.straight.com/article-332050/vancouver/vancouver-protest-planned-show-solidarity-g20-detainees-black-bloc-activists