Mass demonstration descend on Olympics

VANCOUVER - Thousands of indigenous people, anti-poverty activists, environmentalists, anarchists, and others converged on Vancouver this past weekend to protest against the 2010 Olympic games. Opponents of the 2010 winter games charged that the Olympics have led to the theft and colonization of indigenous lands, increased homelessness in Vancouver, large-scale environmental destruction, drastic increases in policing and militarization, and a massive public debt. Protesters also took issue with the fact that several corporate sponsors of these games are deeply invested in Alberta's tar sands, which some environmentalists argue is the world's largest ecological catastrophe.

Many community organizers and indigenous people delivered speeches to a crowd of 3,000 who assembled at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which is a major hub of Vancouver's Olympic celebration. Chanting “homes, not games” and “no Olympics on stolen native land” the gathering led by indigenous elders then marched from the Vancouver Art Gallery to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics at B.C. Place.

Protesters stopped at a Royal Bank of Canada along the way to denounce this corporation for sponsoring the Olympics and investing in the tar sands. Indigenous people who live downstream from the tar sands accuse this project of poisoning their water and drastically increasing the rates of cancer and birth defects in their communities.

The protest remained largely peaceful until police prevented protesters from marching into the opening ceremony. A pushing match then ensued which then led to a tug of war over a banner, minor projectiles being thrown at police, and three arrests. Once it was clear they could go no further, protesters vowed to continue disrupting the games and protesting corporate sponsors for the duration of the Olympics.