(en) ralley against apec at ubc - a brief summary of the last days.

Katja Cronauer (cronauer@giraf.cs.ubc.ca)
Wed, 26 Nov 1997 15:08:02 -0800

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i'm too tired to write too much now, but i haven't seen much info out there yet, so i though i'd give a short "report":

after many awareness raising events since january, we took back our student union building sunday night, beautifying it with all sorts of signs, banners, and chalked slogans, and removing the booths of some vendors on the main concourse (is this supposed to be a STUDENT union building or a mall?). the vendors were actually all pretty sympathetic to our cause, as was the staff of another building that we took over monday morning. throughout monday we had various panels and speak-outs about the impacts of apec in both those buildings going on. welcome to 'free university' - the university for you.

in the morning of the 25th, etan members wend towards the apec leaders' meeting with an arrest warrant for suharto. 17 got arrested.

others gathered at the goddess of democracy at the sub, where we established our apec-free zone a couple of months ago: speakers, theatre, singing, ...

at about noon, thousands (numbers range from 2000 to 4000) - i'm bad at estimating numbers, so i leave this to others - started walking across campus towards the museum, site of the meeting, or rather towards the huge fence that blocked part of the campus off with tons of cops in front as well as cops and dogs behind the fence.

some theatre happened there (sorry i wasn't there for that).

then some people tried to cross the police lines. non-violently. first pepper-spraying. the first few got arrested. then we had a stalemate with about 8 lines of about 10 protestors each standing right in front of the police, challenging them to let them through.

at some point we changed strategy and went off to block all the roads that led to the meeting's site. so we had four blockades with about 50 people blocking the street at each of them and many more supporters around. at two of the blockades rcmp used pepper-spray. we were constantly in touch over cell-phones so that we always could send people over from one blockade to another if needed.

on south-west maring drive, near the vanier residences. rcmp pepper-sprayed various times, sneaking up from behind their own lines and spraying blindly. one person got bitten by a dog, and some people had guns pointed at them. they seem all okay now.

they finally removed everybody from that blockade so that those 18 men with all their personal security and their disrespect for anybody else in this world could drive thru in their limos.

(remark: i was at a different blockade, so i'm just passing on here what i remember hearing about that particular blockated)

we then went back to the student building and various police stations waiting patiently till the cops released everybody.

overall, about four dozen got arrested yesterday. they were all released during the night, and it looks like with the exception of one person noone will be charged.

police was pretty brutal. e.g. at some point they just pepper-sprayed everybody sitting (peacefully!) on the street.

but i think the ralley was awesome. just image: thousands of people out on the streets at our corporate campus! many people joined us from uvic, langara, sfu, elsewhere around vancouver and washington state.

hope this makes sense. and i hope that we get to read some more stuff from people who were actually there (and are less tired than i am right now :)


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