Olympic protesters promise to be loud but peaceful
Canadian anti-Olympic protesters are promising their voices will
be loud but their actions nonviolent during the Winter Games.
Under the banner of the Olympic Resistance Network, a consortium
of groups is promising a series of protests starting this
“We are absolutely a threat to the games,” Harjap Grewal of
ORN said Thursday. “We are not a threat to the public.”
Next week’s protests will culminate in a march on the opening
ceremonies Feb. 12. Chris Shaw, of 2010 Watch, said organizers hope
thousands of demonstrators will participate.
ORN spokeswoman Harsha Walia said any violence during anti-games
protests will not be started by protesters.
“Police violence is a reality,” she said, adding Vancouver is
being turned into a “police state” before the games. Two blocks
away, barricades closed roads as dozens of police officers in
fatigues guarded gateways watched by surveillance cameras.
Security for the Vancouver Games is costing Canadians almost
$609 million, four times the original estimate.
Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer of the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police said that protests will be allowed to proceed as long as
they area peaceful and lawful.
Anti-games activists say the billions of dollars spent on the
games, including new transportation infrastructure and a convention
center, would have been better spent on education, health and
The ORN held its news conference in the Downtown Eastside, an
area plagued with poverty and drug use. Gord Hill of the
Kwa-Kwa-Ka’wakw aboriginal nation said 30 percent of the people in
the area are aboriginal.
“This is ground zero of the socio-economic impact of the 2010
Olympics,” he said.
A tent city for protesters and the homeless also is being
established not far from the opening ceremony venue. Walia said
protest leaders have had safety training and medical and legal
teams will be on standby. Immigration lawyers will also be
available, she said.
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