Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's been almost 3 weeks since a highly successful anti-Olympics protest in Victoria BC (see No2010 Victoria for more news on what's happening out that way). At the time the local media picked up on some "marble throwing incident" to, they hoped, spice up their coverage and also incidentally discredit the protesters. Since then this incident has become the "incredibly shrinking story". Here's Larry Gambone of the Porkupine Blog on how the incident was far less than what was reported at first, and how it may have a totally different implication than what was originally implied in the media.
Olympic Torch Protest - the so-called marble throwing incident.:
I have waited 3 weeks to do this story to see if anything new came up – so far nothing, so here goes...

On the night of the anti-Olympic protest the Victoria TV station was screaming about “cowardly protesters throwing marbles at police horses” and that “a young man with a back pack full of marbles had been arrested.” This way they drummed up hate among the sheeple against a rather successful protest.

Then the Times Colonist got in the act too with a similar line. Funny thing, the story then dropped out of sight.

Even odder was the fact that no one was arrested. Surely if the police had gotten their hands on someone who tried to throw marbles at them, they would be dragged off bleeding to the hoosegow.

Odd too, is the idea that NO2010 would somehow endorse such a stupid, counter-productive tactic. Of course they didn't.

Turns out no one actually threw any marbles, rather they were dropped. But then it gets muddy. Who did it and why did they do it?

There are a number of different viewpoints. First two letters to the Times Colonist:
"Just a note on the 'marble fiasco'. Maybe the media could take a second and follow-up on their so-called 'sources' (the police, and a woman who found a handful of marbles on the street) on marble THROWING. Being at the protest, I saw what happened with the marbles. None were thrown. Someone had them in his pocket (I would like to know why, but since carrying marbles is not a crime, I didn't feel it necessary to ask), his pocket broke and they FELL OUT. A number of us stopped to pick them up, and because we were afraid of being separated from the group, we weren't able to get them all. Many thanks to the woman who got the rest. I would like to see one person step forward that actually SAW anyone throw anything at the horses, because from my perspective, it didn't happen. Stop being lazy reporters, and do your job.
Lover of Horses
Nov 2
"Protesters also threw marbles at the feet of horses used by the Vancouver police mounted squad."

This is a lie. I was there when the marbles were released, at one of the intersections on Cook Street where we stopped for ten minutes or thereabouts. My friend and I commented on what a stupid thing that is, dropping marbles onto the street so that the horses, already enslaved and wishing they were in a warm barn somewhere, might slip on them. Others nearby expressed similar comments. We were at the back of the crowd, where I stayed for most of the route, and there were several police officers within earshot. It was clear that the officers were made aware of the marbles. The horses passed without incident.

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the marbles were released by agents provocateurs, who have been proven (and those from Montebello may actually go to jail for inciting violence) to be planted into crowds for the purposes of disrupting otherwise peaceful acts of civil disobedience. Janine Bancroft
Nov 2
Global Television weighs in on Nov 3:
"Anti-Olympic protesters say it was not them, but the police themselves, who threw marbles at police horses during the Olympic torch rally in Victoria Friday. They say a police "provocateur" planted among the demonstrators did so to discredit them.
The police, meanwhile, say the allegation is ridiculous.
"The public saw marbles coming from the crowd -- and Victoria police officers saw it," said Sgt. Grant Hamilton of Victoria police.
Tamara Herman, an organizer for the group No2010, said one of the protesters saw someone who was not part of their group drop marbles in the roadway.
Herman said she could not name the witness or offer other details. Nevertheless, she contends that a plainclothes police officer was trying to discredit the protesters.
"The Integrated Security Unit [responsible for Games security] stated they wouldn't rule out using provocateurs. Organizers at the back of the march saw someone they didn't recognize dropping a bag of marbles," Herman said. "

The Martlet (U Vic paper) gets it partly wrong:
"Despite fears of a potential police crackdown on protesters, there were no arrests. The only visible attempted violence came when some protesters- who were not known to No-2010 organizers- threw marbles at the feet of the seven horses being ridden by the mounted squad The Martlet
Nov 23
What really happened? Some kid who plays marbles had his pocket split? Police agent provocateur? Or could it be a free lance provocateur? Don't put it past the far right to do such a thing. One thing for certain is that the media will seize upon any incident real or imagined to intimidate and discredit the forces of progress.

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