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'Games Over, Resistance Lives!' Feb 28, 2010 - Final day of Anti-Olympic Convergence

 

The final day of the Olympic Games brought to Vancouver's streets not just celebrating, patriotic fans, but also another voice; a voice that has been consistently active and alive during the 2 week stretch of international competition. 

'Games Over - Resistance Lives!', a march and ceremony organized by various activist groups in solidarity against the Olympic expenditures and occupation, began at approximately 1:30 pm on the corner of Smithe and Howe in downtown Vancouver. 

Members from the Olympic Resistance Network, GatewaySucks.org, and the DTES Power of Women, among others, joined together in celebrating the end of the games, the leaving of VANOC and the IOC, and as a reminder of the continuous awareness needed for the social struggles left behind in the dust. 

The rally, led by Indigenous elders beating on traditional hand drums, began by marching down Howe and ended up standing off head-to-head with a police bicycle blockade. The crowd peacefully retreated and turned down Smithe, where they were greeted with yet another police blockade, refusing the march access anywhere near Yaletown, known well as the richer area of downtown Vancouver.

The march then fell back on 'Plan C', which was to carry through the downtown core towards Victory Square, a memorial park in the downtown east-side. 

As the crowd made their way up Mainland St. and past Robson, the maple-leaf-clad, red-wearing, flag-waving, drunken-hollering Olympic fan population grew. Full beer cans were thrown out of high-rise buildings at the peaceful protesters, hockey fans ran out of restaurants to wave Canadian flags and throw a middle finger, countless 'Go get a job!''s and other creative insults were shouted, and some aggressive fans managed to filter through the crowd to personally attack demonstrators. On several occasions, police officers had to step in to push away the angry fans and block them off the streets in order to let the march through.

The march stopped at Cambie and Hastings, where the torch was originally re-routed by an immense pack of Anti-Olympic advocates during the first day of Olympic ceremony. Here, the crowd blocked traffic for about half an hour as speakers took to the megaphone. 

They then carried on through the downtown eastside, stopping and blocking traffic at the newly revised Woodwards building as well as in front of Pigeon Park, both landmarks of the DTES and both recently revamped and upgraded to a stranger of their former self. The march consistently gained momentum and supporters, as well as attacks by angry fans, along the way. 

The crowd ended at Main and Hastings, where everyone sat down in a large circle, barricading traffic for well over an hour. An open-mic method fell onto the megaphone for most of the time, while everyone enjoyed traditional First Nations songs, each others company, and the spirit of solidarity and resistance.

Around 4 PM, a smudging ceremony for Harriet Nahanee, an Indigenous elder who died while incarcerated due to protesting the Sea-to-Sky Highway environmental degradation at Eagleridge Bluffs, took place. After which, all the women present were invited to join in an inner circle to sing and drum the Women's Warrior Song. 

Eventually, the march turned back and ended at the Olympic Tent Village, a camp set up in a vacant lot at Abbott and E. Hastings St. as an action to raise awareness on the homeless, the poor living conditions of residents in the DTES, and the lack of a budget or help for social housing in Vancouver. The peaceful and energized night carried through with live musical and poetry performances, bon fires, soccer games and a potluck, catered by Food Not Bombs, inside and out on the streets of tent city.

 

 

 

 

(Footage shot by: Carlos Melendres, Julie Belmas, Andrew Ainsley, and Brianna Chatwin)

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Commentaires

Nice Work!

Thank you!

you failed to report on how

you failed to report on how the Games Over! rally ended-- Hastings St was blocked for 12 hours outside of the tent village and was only cleared at 4:30AM when some 40 riot cops were deployed, with four K9 units and shooters armed with m4 carbine and less-lethal launchers....

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