Thursday, September 25, 2008



It's two years to go until the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, but already the promo for the event has started...but so have the protests. Just three days ago protestors disrupted the launch of Canadian Pacific's 'Olympic Spirit Train' in Port Moody, BC. This weekend there will be meetings in Edmonton to protest the coming circuses without bread. Here's the story from the No Olympics on Stolen Native Land website.
A more complete reportback is forthcoming, however some basic news,updates, and photos are compiled below.

Olympics Resistance NetworkNews Release to Mainstream Media:

* For photos please visit:
Monday September 22 2008- Amidst pots, pans, sirens, and chants of “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land”, Olympics Resistance Network (ORN) activists- including families with children- successfully shutdown yesterday’s Canadian Pacific’s Olympics Spirit Train launch in Port Moody as intended.

According to Gord Hill, member of the Olympics Resistance Network, “With protesters nearly outnumbering spectators, the most spirited part of today was the spirit of resistance against the Olympics. We are confident that the forced cancellation of the Spirit Train launch ceremonies will inspire others as the train travels across Canada."

The action in Port Moody was the first in a series of actions against the Olympic Spirit Train planned across the country including in Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto over the next month.

Activists further state that they are outraged by the unjustified and unprovoked arrests of two people, including one elderly woman. The two have since been released.

According to protester Peter Haywood “At no point during this protest did we threaten, provoke, or assault anyone. However, some members of the public as well as identified and undercover police officers aggressively shoved and assaulted protesters, escalating the situation.”

For example, a woman with two children entered into the crowd and very aggressively confronted protesters. Although protesters made space for her to leave, she – despite having two young crying children with her – decided to remain and hurl abuses at protesters. During this time, one young male protester was shoved by a photographer into a police officer, who promptly arrested him for no apparent reason. An elderly woman who, along with other concerned people, was following the police to question them about the arrest was violently pushed against the hood of a vehicle and arrested.

“The police refused to read the arrested people their rights or explain their charges. These arbitrary arrests are an expression of police fascism, who make freedom of expression expendable in order to protect Olympic interests”, according to Alissa Westergard-Thorpe, a witness to the arrests.

According to the Olympics Resistance Network, “Far from being simply about ‘sport’, the history of the Olympics is one rooted in displacement, corporate greed, repression, and violence. In Canada, the effects of the upcoming Winter Games are already apparent – expansion of sport tourism on Indigenous lands; increasing homelessness across the province; ballooning public spending; unprecedented destruction of the environment; and unparalleled police and security spending.”

* For more information or if you are interested in actively organizing or coordinating anti-2010 Olympics resistance efforts, please visit or email

A previous ORN communique is posted at:
* Take action against the Spirit Train in your city! For Spirit train schedule and stops, please visit:
* Dominion article "Protesters Disrupt "Spirit Train" Sendoff":
* 24 hours "Train buoys the spirits - of protesters" by Bob Mackin
* Additional Mainstream news coverage:
Canadian Press:

Meanwhile, as the promo train arrives in Edmonton this weekend so do the protests.

Sat Sept 27, 2008:
Free Event at Native Friendship Center in Edmonton (see below)
Anti-Olympic efforts come to Edmonton:
While it is still 18 months before athletes competing in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games start arriving on Canada’s West Coast, last week’s closing ceremonies to wrap up the Beijing Parolympic Games signalled that the eyes of the Olympic-watching world would now fully shift focus to Canada.

And just as China discovered in the months leading up to the Beijing Olympics, while the Games may bring a flood of corporate sponsorship, new athletic infrastructure and international media attention, they are also inextricably linked with the politics of the host country and rife with controversies about who benefits and who suffers as a result of preparations to host the sporting world.

Since Vancouver first won its host bid in 2003, the Games have drawn the ire of many in British Columbia due to cost overruns—venue costs alone have ballooned 23 per cent above initial estimates to $580 million—and a host of other issues, including the use of a public-private partnership to build a rapid transit link from the airport to downtown Vancouver, concerns about the impact preparations for the Games are having marginalized communities in Vancouver, and issues arising from unresolved land claims and development linked to the Games infringing on unceded First Nations land in the province.

For social justice activists in BC, opposition to the Games has increasingly become a central rallying point.

“Although certainly the issue of Indigenous sovereignty and Indigenous land is foundational to anti-Olympics work, it does provide a space for people to come together from various movements,” explains Harsha Walia, a Vancouver-based organizer with the Olympics Resistance Network, a coalition of groups and individuals opposed to the Games. “The Olympics does affect and impact people from a wide variety of communities—whether that’s poor neighbourhoods and therefore anti-poverty activists, people within the labour movement, especially those working on migrant labour justice issues, people working on the Security and Prosperity Partnership because of security preparations. So it provides a space for activists working on a wide variety of issues to come together and make links.”

She says the social and environmental problems caused by the Olympics are easy to see.

“There’s a huge amount of construction, especially in Vancouver, but certainly in surrounding areas to get to Whistler, where most of the winter games will happen. You can visibly see the destruction of the mountains as you drive out of the city,” she says. “You can see a huge number of condos going up all across Vancouver, construction cranes everywhere. And the starkness, for example, in the Downtown Eastside where you have approximately 3000 people on the street while at the same time approximately 1500 condo units that are slated to go up by 2010.
There’s no way someone in British Columbia—no matter what they say about the Olympics, whether they’re neutral about it, whether they support it—there’s no way one walks into BC and doesn’t clearly see the negative social impacts of the Olympics.”

While such impacts have been coming into sharper focus in BC for years, as the Games draw closer, anti-Olympics activists are stepping up efforts to bring the issues surrounding the Games to national and international attention.

On September 21, protesters in Port Moody disrupted the launch of the “Spirit Train,” the first of a series of events planned by Olympic organizers to “move the Olympic spirit across Canada” (see sidebar). Walia says additional protests are being planned in many cities—including the September 29 stop in Edmonton, although she wouldn’t provide details—as the train makes its way across the country.

And as the train moves through the Rockies, activists here in the city are organizing a tour of their own, bringing together Indigenous activists and allies from BC and Alberta to make the links between preparations for the Olympics and our own oil-driven boom.

“The connections between what’s happening in Edmonton due to the uncontrolled development of the tar sands and the social impacts of uncontrolled developments around the 2010 Games seem, at a distance, to be very different,” concedes Macdonald Stainsby, one of the local organizers of the panel. “But in reality the connections are very clear,especially when one draws in the environmental destruction to unceded Indigenous territories in BC and to traditional territories in Northern Alberta.”

He says that many other problems are being seen in both provinces, including the increased use of temporary foreign workers brought in to ensure Olympic facilities are completed in time for the games, much as they are being brought to Alberta to work on the numerous tar sands developments underway in the province.

Stainsby adds that bringing together activists from both provinces is important in light of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), which means whatever happens to standards in one province will have a direct impact in the other.

“Ultimately as a result of the 2010 Olympics, the debt will fall on the people of Vancouver and BC,” he says, “but the social debt with the way we interact with labour legislation, environmental legislation, etc will change across the entire country, and in particular in Alberta, with the two provinces being joined at the hip through TILMA.”

But, says Stainsby, the upside is that the shared challenges presented by the Olympics in BC and the tar sands in Alberta means there is a unique opportunity to build ties between social justice activists in the two provinces, a collaboration he hopes the event in Edmonton can kick-start.

“The primary thing is to understand the commonality of these various struggles. When people feel their community is under siege from these giant corporations and giant spectacles, they realize that we’re all in the same boat and can therefore start to address these things together, with the strength of numbers and the strength and confidence of understanding that it’s a larger agenda and not just their own communities that are under siege.”
No Games on Stolen Native Land!
Sat, Sep 27 (6 pm)
Panel on 2010 & Tar Sands
Edmonton Native Friendship Centre
(11205 - 101 St);

Publish Content
Anti-Copyright @2007 No 2010 Olympics on Stolen Native Land

1 comment:

Frank Partisan said...

I hope you don't have to go through, what the Twin Cities did, having the RNC here.