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"!Drop All The Charges Free All the Prisoners!"

Vancouver Solidarity with Toronto 900

Dominion Stories

Solidarity Against Police Repression (from @vancouver_decay twitpic)
Solidarity Against Police Repression (from @vancouver_decay twitpic)

Also posted by bineshii:

 

Vancouver Solidarity March with Toronto 900 and with the Black Block.
-July 4 2010

250 people marched in solidarity with the Toronto anti-G20 900. Most arrestees were released without charges while many remain in jail. The total number is unknown in Vancouver today. [18 appear to be facing longer term charges and denial of bail -july 7]

Led by a banner reading, "Solidairty Against Police Repression" that was used in demonstrations to oppose police surveillance and harrassment during the lead up to the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The rally started at the Clark and Broadway skate park and marched to the Vancouver police station in the Downtown Eastside. Over 12 km, the march stopped at different points of conflict in Vancouver.

The first stop was at Clark and 12th intersection to commemorate the Solidarity with Tyendenaga Demo that Indigenous people in Vancouver initiated April 28th, 2008. At that time, the intersection was blocked for three hours stopping transport trucks coming and going from the Port of Vancouver a few blocks away. Commercial transport routes were congested all the way to the border. Today, a 2010 Olympics souvenir flag and large Canadian flag were burned. Sunday, being a low traffic day for the Port, the march decided to go to the police station –which is always busy 7 days a week.

The march briefly stopped above a police operations depot under construction below the 1st Street Viaduct, then turned onto the viaduct blocking one of Vancouver’s main traffic arteries between the Eastside and downtown. Passing by the BC Housing Offices on Terminal St, a speaker critisized the organization for failing to provide decent and accessable affordable in Vancouver --despite years of false promises. Turing onto Main St. the march entered the Downtown Eastside and was joined by many neighbourhood residents. The Downtown Eastside is Vancouver’s poorest neighbourhood and is under intensive redevelopment and gentrification.

The march stopped in front of the Main St. police station and court houses. Usually the road outside is a parking lot for police cars, but they were all gone today.

A diverse range of people participated in the march --pro-democracy, anarchists, indigenous people, unionists, students, poor people, people with disabilities, families…
The march was in solidarity with all arrestees, all prisoners, and everyone who experienced abuse and intimidation at the hands of the police during Toronto anti G20 days of action/protests. Also importantly, the march was in very strong support of the Black Block and other militants during the Get Off the Fence day of action.

This march was an example of and an exercise in direct action strategies that community based resistance movements can take.

some pictures found on Stephen Hui's flickr:

Burning Canadian Flag

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shui/4762275381

March @ Terminal "Solidarity Against Repression" "Free the Toronto 900"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shui/4762938532

March w/ "Freedom to assemble" banner

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shui/4762920448

"Solidarity is Our Weapon" banner

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shui/4762922522

East Van Cross "Only in Fascist States are Protests Illegal"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shui/4762924436

Link to Winnipeg Solidarity Article:
Solidarity in Winnipeg
Over 100 Winnipeggers Demonstrate on "Canada Day"

http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/story/solidarity-winnipeg/4052

Link to Edmonton Solidarity Video:
July 3. 2010.
The march began at city hall, wound through downtown and ended at a rally in front of Edmonton police headquarters. About 200 attended.
Edmonton city police and Alberta RCMP were involved with the G20 protests in Toronto.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odgzrnbZyyY

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Comments

A better way, again

Since no one is likely to read my original comment on the past event's entry, i'm reposting it here.

=====

I was briefly at this protest and left soon after seeing the masks and the support of the black bloc.

I believe that the police involved in the brutality against protestors during the G20 should pay for their crimes. Whether we like it or not, protestors of the black bloc variety are doing more damage than good. No one can hear you speaking when you cover you mouth in black. This is a reality. If people are serious about creating something better (and the only way to do so is with a mass movement) then they must give up the ethos of violence. Show your faces; be proud of what you believe and speak it calmly and clearly. Practice non-violence. And surely don't support violence or those that perpetrate it. The last I heard there were 200 people at this march of solidarity. How many turned away when they saw the black masks? how many never showed up?

There were camera's there. I watched, as the only thing they focused on were the masked possie. If this protest does make it the mainstream media (which seems doubtful) what do you think they will talk about? Will they mention the valid arguments against the ridiculous 1 billion security budget for the G20? or will they show the men and women dressed in black? apparently in support of violent action. It doesn't matter whether you are or you are not for violent action, this is the image you are presenting. And no matter whether we like it or not, the media is built on images and sound bites. I would no more march in support of the black bloc than I would in the support of the blue bloc (as so many have cleverly called the police).

While there is significant evidence that there were agent provacatuers in the black bloc groups during the G20, there were others who gleefully smashed bank windows and shops. Do you think the owners of those banks care? There is insurance for that. You do nothing for the cause of Anarchy. You harm it. I truly believe that Anarchy, or Direct Democracy as I prefer to call it, is a better way. We do not need to smash windows, we need dialogue, and critical mass. Any sympathy for your arguments is immediately lost after the first brick is thrown. 

At this protest I became angry, in fact yelled at the first female speaker to take off her mask. For this I am sorry. I let  my anger get the better of me. But i feel so much frustration that something I truly believe in is being usurped by a violent few, dressed in black. 

If Direct Democracy is ever to be taken seriously we need a new image, new symbols, and a new way of speaking. 

Violence is not the smashing

Violence is not the smashing of windows I think you need to realize this. the face are covered for specific reason if you refuse to aknowledge that it is just ignorant it has nothing to do with them not being proud opf their cause. MSM will never talk rationally about both sides of the G-20 and their budget which is the only thing for some reason people seem to be concentrating on because the rich own the media and the rich are the ones benefitting from the destruction of our planet and the exploitation and rape of countries and cultures. It is quite sad that you chose to leave the protest becasue we were showing solidarity with those who too had been arrested. Sure we can can all sit in circles and ride bikes but that won't change anything especially in the climate we now face in the world.

Direct Hypocrisy

It’s really too bad that so many so called pacifists don’t understand the concept of solidarity, and choose to only support that which they agree with. It is ironic that these same people seem to constantly push inclusively –rejecting the black block and militant action because it alienates people –when they themselves are basically saying “…If I don’t agree with you f-off, I’ll throw you to the dogs.”

In this whole g20 violence/non-violence debate when ‘pacifists’ are speaking about humbleness and peace I hear nothing but arrogance and intolerance.

The mainstream news coverage –what little of it there was anyway —in addition to sensationalizing the black block, and telling overt lies, CTV, CBC repeatedly showed the Warrior/Unity Flag. The Georgia Straight had accurate coverage and used an image of the Canadian Flag Burning as it's title picture. This imagery has been known to strike fear into the hearts of Canadians and rile them to violent attack.

The Warrior/Unity flag represents Indigenous Resistance to de colonization –a movement that is founded on the assertion that Canada, the government and the settler colonizers are living in an illegal occupation of Indigenous Land. Many at the G20 protests in Toronto, and solidarity rallies in cities across the continent were flagrantly Canadian, singing O Canada, brandishing adaptations of the Canadian Flag and bemoaning the betrayal of the ‘good Canadian way of life.’ Many native people are completely offended at this overt patriotism for a nation that has --and still is-- committing genocide against our people.

If Indigenous people can put aside those kinds of intensive conflicts for a few hours to show solidarity with people who clearly were at the brunt of  some nasty abuse by the Canadian State –then I should think any Canadian pacifist could do the same.

There were lots of people in that march who didn’t agree 100% with each other. And there were many people who do not participate in black bloc actions, but that day wore black and black masks as a demonstration of solidarity. There were also people there who had been in Toronto --some were arrested, some not-- who spoke at stopping points along the march. It was a 12 km march, and lots of people stayed to the end –that shows in and of itself, the heartfelt dedication people feel and their willingness to want to do something to stop the kind of repression faced in Toronto, and also by systems of exploitation like the G20. Part of that dedication is finding ways to work with people we may have to stretch to find common ground with.

If  some pacifists were unable to put aside their own narrow mindedness to participate in this march, it doesn’t bode well for their ability to participate in anything resembling ‘direct democracy.’

It’s too bad some people left because they couldn’t stand the site of people dressed in black with masks or a banner that read, “we are all black block.’ Because they also missed some quality time with the strong and diverse communities of resistance in Vancouver.
 

Well Said!

Well said, "irritable mom"! 

While I am not a pacifist, I have worked with those who are and they have nothing in common with the "arrogant" and "intolerant" types who are currently trashing the black bloc, anarchists and "diversity of tactics".  I don't have a problem with folk disagreeing with other people's tactics, that's normal.  These are important debates.  I have my own criticisms of how black bloc tactics played out in Toronto (though I wasn't there), but I'm not going to make them public as I fear they'll be taken out of context and used to bash and trash people I consider comrades.

Real pacifists are above all else concerned with the structural and systemic violence of the state and their corproate masters.  They put their bodies, and sometimes their lives, on the line fighting for peace, freedom and justice.  While they do not shy away from making thier critiques of violence known to others, they are generally respectful and conduct these debates in a spirit of solidarity. 

Radical pacifists DO NOT call for the police to arrest those using tactics with which they don't agree.  On the contrary, they realize that police and prisons are the real sources of violence and act accordingly.

Martin Luther King was once asked his opinion about the urban uprisings ("riots") that were raging during the 1960's in American inner cities.  He replied that while it was not his way, he understood the oppression and racism underlying them.

The "violence" of burning cop cars and smashed corporate storefronts is miniscule compared to the violence of the state.  But then I don't believe it's really about violence, however defined.  It's about control and some of those making this criticism seem to believe that it's their right and obligation to dictate to everybody else the resistance tactics they must use.  They've identified the black bloc/anarchists as a threat to their work and wish to eliminate them from the movement (along with those who support/defend such tactics?).

Ironically, none of the groups involved in the organizing, save for the toothless Canadian Labour Congress which organized the big march, have denounced the black bloc.  On the contrary, groups like the Toronto Community Mobilization Network and No One Is Illegal have issued principled statments of solidarity with ALL those arrested and brutalized by the police.

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