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(en) Canada, Vancouver Report from International Day Against Police Brutality

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 21 Mar 2005 09:53:15 +0100 (CET)


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March 15th, 2005, was the ninth annual International Day Against Police
Brutality (IDAPB). This day of action began in 1997, as an initiative
of the Black Flag collective in Switzerland, with the help of the Montreal
Collective Opposed to Police Brutality. The date was chosen because on
March 15th, two children, aged 11 and 12, were beaten by Swiss police.
In Vancouver, this year's IDAPB started off with a hot food serving
at the former Woodwards squat (a large department building in
Canada's poorest neighbourhood, occupied in 2002 and evicted by
riot police). Along with the food, leaflets and newsletters were also
distributed, containing information on the IDAPB march scheduled
for that night and profiles of Vancouver Police in-custody deaths
and RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) involvement in the
military occupations of Haiti, Iraq, and indigenous nations in
Canada.

At 7:00 pm, about 100 people gathered in Victory Square. Some
flew black flags and wore masks to avoid police identification
(including video surveillance and plain clothes officers). After a few
short speeches, the crowd began to march down Hastings Street,
led by a banner with the words: "Resist Police Control - Fight For
Freedom". Another banner read: "Stolen Lives", listing some of the
people who have been killed by Vancouver cops in the past few
years (Gerald Chenery, Robert Bagnell, Roman Andreichikov,
Christopher Ecklund, Benny Matson, Jeff Berg, and Frank Paul). A
stereo pumped out anti-cop hip hop, heavy metal, and punk songs.

Police kept their distance from the crowd throughout the march. As
soon as the crowd arrived at the Main and Hastings police station,
eggs, paint, and fireworks were tossed at police vehicles and the
station itself. Police cars were hit with the wooden poles with black
flags attached.

The march then continued up Hastings and more fireworks were
thrown around. A private security car, unmarked police vehicle, and
corporate TV news van were egged.

After the march dispersed, at least two people were arrested.
Another four or five people were seen being handcuffed, but it was
not clear whether they were released or taken to jail. Only one
person used the lawyer's phone number distributed at the beginning
of the march.

The night's events were a distinct break from the everyday routine
of submission to police control and murder.

IDAPB marches also took place in Calgary, Montreal, and Phoenix
(Arizona). The Montreal Gazette (corporate press) reported five
arrests at the Montreal event after a scuffle with riot police.

- Excerpt from the Vancouver callout by the Independent IDAPB
Organizing Group:

"We are not calling for a protest or a demonstration. Our purpose is
not to whine to the media about how awful the police are. Instead,
we want to open up space for people that are directly affected by
police brutality to express their anger and take action. We are not a
charity, religious, or legal group trying to save the poor.

We are individuals who do not want to live under the clubs and
watchful eyes of the cops, and we want to fight alongside those who
feel the same way. We choose to organize independently from all
political activist groups and parties, and encourage others to form
affinity groups and initiate actions against police control.

In every society the police are the frontline soldiers and occupying
army in service of the rich. Vancouver itself is the product of the
violent displacements, imprisonment and forced religious
indoctrination of the indigenous peoples of the Sto:lo, Squamish,
and Tsleil-Waututh nations. The Vancouver police murder of Frank
Paul (a Mi'kmaq man) in 1998, the non-investigation of the
missing women cases, and the escalated police occupation of the
Downtown Eastside since April 2003 are only the most recent
examples of this ongoing legacy of colonialism. The police brutality
and killing that make the headlines are only the tip of the iceberg.
The root of the problem is the parasitic economic system that the
cops are paid to defend.

The Vancouver Police Department is fighting a war for control of
the city. With the Safe Streets Act and the ongoing yuppification of
Vancouver neighbourhoods, this war can only escalate. IDAPB is a
step towards building effective resistance to the police at a practical
level.

With respect to the memory of Vancouver residents killed by the
police (Gerald Chenery, Robert Bagnell, Roman Andreichikov,
Christopher Ecklund, Benny Matson, Jeff Berg, Frank Paul, and
others), let's take the streets on March 15th."


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