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(en) Canada, Vancouver, Canada: Report from Wild in the Streets Anarchist Group June 9, 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 10 Jun 2004 13:23:12 +0200 (CEST)


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"Wild in the Streets" took place between June 2nd to June 6th and included two
movie nights, an anarchist punk show, a picnic/potluck, and an anti-police
action. On the last day, three people were arrested during an anarchist
march against the recent police "crackdown" on Commercial
Drive, the Community Policing Centre in Grandview Park, and
the "Police State" in general.
Even before "Wild in the Streets" began, posters appeared
on Commercial Drive calling for residents to "counter the
anarchists' cop-hating campaign and let the police know how
much we appreciate having them working in the Commercial Drive area."

The Purple Thistle Centre was packed for the movie nights, with
about 30-40 people attending to watch "The Beat of Frances
Street", a movie about six squatted houses in Vancouver that
were held for several months in 1990, and "Libertarias", a
fictional account of the anarchist womens' movement during
the Spanish Civil War.

About 40-50 people showed up for the picnic and potluck in
Grandview Park on Saturday and passed around some anarchist
publications. Several cops were gathered outside the Community
Police Centre on the other side of the park, and a cop watched the
picnic from an unmarked vehicle and toke notes.

On Sunday, June 6th, about 30 people took part in the anti-police
march on Commercial Drive. Almost all the participants wore
black clothing and masks and held black flags. Some used
buckets for drums. A few were dressed in carnival-style clothing
or were unmasked. A couple of people spontaneously joined in.

The Vancouver Police Department had at least two video
surveillance teams operating – one on the northeast corner of
Broadway and Commercial and one up above on the Skytrain
platform. When the march began, there were almost as many
cops as anarchists on the street. One surveillance team in a van
moved along with the march.

Chants included "No more pigs in our communities. Off the
pigs!" - "No justice, no peace! No fascist police!" -
"Revenge! Revenge! Revenge for Frank Paul!" (an
indigenous Mi'kmaq man who died after police dragged him
out of jail while he was unconscious, and dumped him in an
alley.) - and "No more missing women!" (in reference to
the Vancouver Police Department's extensive abuse of sex
trade workers and their 19 years of wilful negligence in the cases
of more than 60 missing women in Vancouver's downtown
eastside).

As the march made its way up the Drive, bits of donuts were
tossed at the cops and the windows of a Starbucks café were
splattered with coffee grounds. Tragically, a yuppie happened to
get hit by some grounds as he opened a door to leave the café.

One cop who was amusing himself by bashing his bike into
people eventually got mad enough to make an arrest when he
realized that nobody was cowering before his authority. The cop
ripped off a person's shirt and then grabbed him from behind.
A chaotic scuffle broke out at this point, as the cops tried to arrest
people and chased others down an alleyway. The majority of the
group held steady and linked arms, preventing the cops from
snatching anyone else. After a brief stand-off, the march ended at
Grandview Park, as the group sat in a circle, completely
surrounded by police. People who just happened to see what was
going on, or were in the park, taunted the cops and showed their
support for the anarchists. Eventually the police dispersed.

Three people were arrested in total. One was released right away,
but two were charged with "assault on a police officer" and held
for about 28 hours. Supporters packed the courtroom and waited
outside the jail for their comrades, helping to speed up their
release.

One person who was arrested was roughed-up by a cop who
made the pathetically cliché remark: "You're not so
tough without your friends now are you?". The cop smashed
the person's head into the ground, twisted his arm in an
attempt to break it or pull it out of its socket, and then dragged
him along the ground, leaving bruises all over his body. But there
was nothing unusual or particularly "brutal" about this
kind of treatment, since the cops beat and torture poor people
every day.

The Vancouver Police Department has kept quiet about the
event, and told the only corporate news station that reported on it
that they couldn't "say exactly what the demonstration
was about", and they wouldn't go into "details"
about it.

This action was significant because it disturbed the peace of
Commercial Drive yuppies, while also serving notice to the cops
that unlike political activists, anarchists will not be intimidated
and will stand with dignity in total opposition to the political elite
and their guardians.

The overwhelming police response displays the intolerance of the
State for even the slightest "social disorder" (the Broken
Windows theory) and the cops' hatred of anyone who openly
challenges their position of power.

But the police actions during "Wild in the Streets"
don't so much reveal the "strength" of the anarchist
struggle in Vancouver as they do the vulnerability of the State. As
exploitation and control expand and more and more people are
socially excluded, resistance is also likely to increase.

And anarchists must be repressed by the police because they
openly call for revolt, creating points of reference which indicate
that anyone can decided to act against her own exploitation and
seize control of her life.

Overall, "Wild in the Streets" went far beyond the
expectations of the affinity group that organized it and planted the
seeds for future anarchist action in this city.

wildinthestreets604(at)hotmail.com
Link: http://vancouver.indymedia.org/news/2004/06/141941.php
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