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Confronting Canada Day: An Individual Report Back

Confronting Canada Day: An Individual Report Back

Also posted by indyvan:

I arrived at Clark Park for Beat The Pipelines 2nd event Confronting Canada Day, not really knowing what to expect. The last demonstration organized by Beat The Pipelines saw a huge police presence, police assaults and arrests. People slowly gathered and the numbers swelled but the police presence was minimal. I was not surprised to see a Black Bloc of about 15 people holding black flags and a banner reading “Decolonization Means Attack”. A Rob Ford looking cop approached the crowd asking “who was in charge?”, followed by boisterous laughter from the crowd. That cop spent the rest of the time in a patrol car. Mainstream media was confronted by people with flags preventing them from filming.

There were a few speakers who talked about Canada's genocidal and colonial history the state is built on, the promotion of diversity of tactics and rage at the destruction capitalism has brought to indigenous peoples' land. At the end of the speeches people started chanted, “No Enbridge! No PTP! (Pacific Trail Pipeline) No Fucking Canada.”

The crowd then moved onto Commercial and headed up the drive. There was a feeling in the air of confidence, rage and defiance. It was clear that this march would be on our terms, not the cops. Canada flags were set alight multiple times throughout the march. Leaflets highlighting why people wear masks were distributed. More chants like “No Pipelines On Stolen Native Land” and “ No Pipelines! No Borders! Fuck law and order!” were shouted. As the crowd moved passed a Starbucks two people in Black Bloc ran up to it, opened the doors to throw leaflets inside. As the march crossed 1st ave the crowd decided block the intersection. Commercial and 1st is a major route into downtown Vancouver. Chants such as “Fuck Canada” were yelled. A bike cop slammed his bike up against someone trying to stop the rerouting of traffic through the intersection, which is dangerous to those occupying the streets. The intersection was held for approximately 15minutes, at which time the crowd decided to continue the demo down the drive. It was very empowering, unlike other protests where people negotiate with police for space as opposed to taking it with dignity as in this case. Further down the street another Canadian flag was lit on fire and flares were released. A call and response type chant saying “Genocide; is nothing to be proud of! Missing and Murdered Women: is nothing to be proud of! Canada: is nothing to be proud of!” highlighting the disgusting, often hidden, reality of what Canada represents. The demonstration ended in Grandview park without incident. We stayed strong and safe in the streets together. Beat The Pipelines says there will be another in September. I'll be there to take the streets. Will you?


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