Tuesday, October 21, 2008
CANADIAN ANARCHIST MOVEMENT-MONTRÉAL/CANADA:
FINAL STOP OF OLYMPIC SPIRIT TRAIN GREETED WITH MORE PROTESTS:
The Cheesy Choo Choo aka the Olympic Spirit Train has made its final stop in Montréal on its tax financed failed tour of the country, and there, as elsewhere it was met with protests. First of all here's the story from the A-Infos website about the final stop.
Canada, Shame Train ends in Montreal with successful disruption:
October 20, 2008
Over 100 protesters gathered in Montreal's Old Port this past Saturday to disrupt the CP Spirit Train's final stop. After successful protests and disruptions throughout it's route from the West Coast to Montreal, the Spirit Train – dubbed the "Shame Train" -- was again met with protesters, and had to cancel or alter large parts of their Montreal program. Photos from the Montreal CP Spirit Train disruption are linked here:
Among the protesters from the "Shame Train Welcoming Committee" was a large delegation from the Kahnawake Mohawk community, including Stuart Myiow Senior from the Mohawk Traditional Council, and Carol McGregor who spoke about continued resistance to the Highway 30 expansion south of Montreal [A protest report from a resident of Kahnawake is included below].
Protesters were also joined by Norman Matchewan of the Lac Barrière Algonquin Community who addressed the crowd about the current struggle at Lac Barrière, four hours north of Montreal (more information about the struggle at Lac Barrière linked here: www.solidaritelacbarriere.blogspot.com ).
Demonstrators also denounced the recent racist comments by Richard Pound, Canada's representative on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Chancellor of McGill University, who referred to 17th century Canada as "a land of savages".
The Shame Train Welcoming Committee – accompanied by a portable sound system, the Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble (Montreal's Anarchist Marching Band) and various noisemakers -- was easily able to access the main Spirit Train site. CP Rail Police, Montreal Police and security staff of the Spirit Train made feeble attempts to block access for the protesters, but the demonstrators manouvered their way around the "security". For a large part of the day the protesters outnumbered actual Spirit Train participants. None of the scheduled speakers or Olympic athletes took the stage, and both the CP Spirit Train Band and the "Québecois de service" band Bottine Souriante were disrupted (or had their tunes turned into anti-Olympics chants). The Olympic mascots systematically were escorted away each time protesters approached. The live media broadcasts by Spirit Train corporate media sponsors – including Q92 and Team990 – were also disrupted.
At least a thousand "No Olympics on Stolen Land" stickers were plastered all over the CP Spirit Train site, and hundreds of flyers outlining "10 Reasons to Oppose the 2010 Olympics" were distributed (but mainly to passers-by, since so few people actually attended the Spirit Train event itself).
In a Canadian Press report, CP claimed that 1500 people attended the Spirit Train event in Montreal, and 35,000 people attended in total at all the stops across the country; but it's evident that those numbers are wildly exagerrated. In fact, the whole Spirit Train spectacle was a grand failure, from the moment the opening ceremony was disrupted in Port Moody, BC, to activists courageously blockading the rail lines in Southern Ontario,to scheduling a Mississauga stop on Thanksgiving Monday (which resulted in a dismally low turnout) right through to the disruption at the last stop in Montreal. All-in-all, networks of grassroots indigenous solidarity activists across the country were able to effectively disrupt and expose the shame of the Spirit Train.
This weekend's Spirit Train mobilization builds on recent awareness raising events in Montreal about anti-Olympics resistance:
-> A video (in five-parts) from the visit of anti-Olympics Indigenous organizers Gord Hill and Angela Sterritt (May 2008) is linked here:
-> A photo-report from the visit of anti-Olympics Indigenous organizers Kanahus Pellkey and Dustin Johnson (January 2008) is linked here:
-> Audio and news reports from Kanahus and Dustin's visit are linked here: http://nooneisillegal-montreal.blogspot.com/2008/02/2010media.html
-> Previous reports and information in French are linked here: http://contrelesolympiquesde2010.anarkhia.org/
-> The 10 Reasons to Oppose the 2010 Olympics are linked here:
http://www.amp-montreal.net/?q=fr/node/28 (click on page 54 of the Montreal PGA-Bloc Zine)
Indigenous solidarity activists in Montreal, working with their Indigenous allies, will continue to raise awareness about resistance to the 2010 Olympics as part of "Resistance 2010".-- Report by members of the Shame Train Welcoming Committee.
Report from a resident of Kahnawake at the Shame Train Protest:
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 08:52:04 -0600
Kwé, Gway, Salut, Hello!
Anti 2010 (no2010.com) Vancouver Olympic protesters including Mohawk Traditional Council of Kahnawake elder Stuart Myiow Sr and woman speaker Carol Mc Gregor made their opposition known yesterday as the train was parked in Old Montreal. It was an animated but very peaceful demonstration gathering 150 protesters whereas very few visitors to Old Montreal - Old Port were interested in the Spirit of Olympic Train, PR kiosks, rock bands, etc.. Stuart Sr spoke of the tradition of peaceful protest and dialog always displayed by the people of the Longhouse and Great Peace even though the Canadian government and politico-economic system has always provoked, stolen and trampled on on native lands and rights. He mentioned how a couple of hundred years ago chiefs travelling to this site in Montreal (Bonsecour Market) for a negotiation with colonial peoples had been betrayed and torn apart by oxen. He called for all peoples to oppose the current politico-economic system and unite in coalitions respecting peaceful, non destructive developments and inter-people dialog.
Carol McGregor spoke of the women's right and responsibility to protect the earth from destruction in all situations for the planet is a living mother for all peoples. Both she and Myiow said that development projects like the Vancouver Olympics or the Montreal area Highway 30 south (sud est) extension project are destroying living space for ordinary folk and important agricultural - natural habitat areas. Highway 30 is being pushed quickly through the traditional Mohawk land claim area of Seigneurie Salut St. Louis by Transport Québec without all the necessary expropriation or archaeological works completed. Very many non native people and communities such as Candiac, groups from St. Constant, etc. are very disturbed by a southern, agricultural route for Highway 30 because for decades they have been told the existing urban 30 route would be upgraded and made safer. The Mohawk community of Kahnawake is very opposed to its development even though its band council is neither publicly speaking clearly for or against. Mc Gregor called on the women especially to keep all men on the good track of peace and sustainable development for only the women have the ability and true power to do so. In the traditional Mohawk clan system it is them who name and can also depose the chiefs.
For further info please consult via Google (My Space and Mohawk Traditional Council), www.anti2010.cpm , www.sos30.com .
Nia:wen, Merci, Thanks!
In Peace and Friendship,
And here from the website of the No2010 Network is a reprint about actions across the country.
Spirit Train Ends in Montreal: Update & News :
An unofficial report back from Montreal informs us that approx. 100 persons attended the anti-Olympic protest to greet the CP 'Spirit Train' when it arrived in that city on Saturday, Oct. 18. They were able to disrupt the event using a PA system. Among those participating were members of the Mohawk Traditional Council of Kahnawake, and delegates from Barriere Lake (where last week Quebec riot police assaulted a peaceful road block).
The following corporate media account summarizes the 'Spirit Train' tour and the various protests that occurred. The numbers that Vanoc/CP claim (35,000 participants) is a huge exaggeration; at most stops only a few hundred showed up for the free evening concert.
Winter Olympic supporters and opponents both claim success from Spirit Train
CTV News/Canadian Press, Oct.18, 2008
VANCOUVER — Organizers and opponents of the 2010 Winter Olympics have both declared victory after duelling campaigns to raise awareness about the Games over the course of a promotional train journey from Vancouver to Montreal.
The Canadian Pacific Spirit Train wrapped up its 10-city tour in Montreal on Saturday, with an estimated 35,000 people across the country having taken part in activities highlighting Olympic sport.
"It is making a positive impact in communities," said Breanne Feigel, a spokesperson for the railway.
Protesters who organized activities to highlight social issues connected to the Games also were pleased, although the crowds that protested were generally much smaller than those in support of the Olympics.
"I don't know if it could have gone any better," said Dan Keller, one of the organizers of a protest rally that took place near Toronto.
The Spirit Train delivered the message that while the Games are being held in Vancouver and nearby Whistler, they belong to all of Canada, said Dave Cobb, vice-president of marketing for the Olympic organizing committee.
"They had great enthusiastic crowds with children and family, which was our priority - and to start to remind Canadians about what having an Olympic Games in your country is like," he said.
"Having the Olympians there and inspiring children is really what it's all about . . ."
Activists say there are drawbacks to the Olympics that make national protest important.
In B.C., protests centre around the impact the Games are having on marginalized communities and a belief the event is happening on stolen native land, even though the First Nations bands whose traditional lands are home to the Olympics have publicly pledged their support.
"I just keep going across the province, across the country, one after another and the issues that are affecting (aboriginal people) are affecting me," said Will Morin, a resident of Sudbury, Ont., who was involved in the Spirit Train protest in that city.
While the train's itinerary of promotional activity was similar at every stop, the activist response varied along the route.
The biggest crowd was at the kickoff last month in Port Moody, outside Vancouver, where about 75 protesters repeatedly yelled though bullhorns and banged pots, forcing musicians to turn up their own volume to match the demonstrators' noise level.
Scuffles erupted that day as police officers tried to hold back protesters. One man was arrested and carried away.
Some of the demonstrations attempted to link local issues to the Games.
In Edmonton, the protest that met the train was under the banner of No Tar Sands, No Olympics on Native Land.
A group of about 30 people protested there, handing out balloons and flyers. At one point two people scaled the side of the train to drape a Resist 2010 banner over top.
"The development of the tar sands are led by the same corporations that are funding and promoting the Olympics, so it was very important to make those connections and help people understand," said Macdonald Stainsby, one of the organizers of the Edmonton protest.
"We're looking at the same kind of indigenous land loss, we're looking at the same kind of displacement, the same kind of housing problems in Alberta that exist in B.C."
Protests were sparsely attended in Calgary, Winnipeg and Sudbury. In Saskatoon and Thunder Bay, Ont., police said no one turned up to demonstrate.
A group of activists from various causes blockaded the train tracks between Sudbury and Toronto, with police reporting that one woman was tied to the tracks. The fracas lasted about an hour.
The next day a demonstration at the train's stop in Mississauga, outside Toronto, drew about 30 protesters.
The second-to-last stop was in Smiths Falls, Ont., where police reported no protest.
In Montreal on Saturday, about 50 protesters turned out compared to a crowd of more than 1,500 people there to enjoy the event, said Feigel.
"We did have a pretty strong presence here in terms of individuals choosing to make their statement, but it didn't dampen the spirits," she said in a phone interview.
Though the turnout was uneven along the way, Keller said he believes the Spirit Train protests are a sign of a growing national mobilization against the Games.
"The growing movement, the resistance to the Olympics especially through these protests, it's motivating people, it's encouraging them," he said. "And hopefully the word is getting out that the Olympics isn't about sports or culture any more.
"It's about development, it's about profit, at the expense of the public at large. We are putting billions of dollars into the Games and the people that are profiting are a small elite of people and we're losing a lot."
Making the Games truly belong to all Canadians is a difficult proposition, said Ann Travers, a Simon Fraser University sociology professor.
"If we were going to hold a massive sporting event that would really be the people's, that would really be Canada's games, what would that mean?"