Violent protests rattle city
By BOB MACKIN, 24 HOURS [Vancouver, British Columbia]
July 22, 2008
What do bank windows, “Welcome to Vancouver” signs and a construction truck have in common?
They are objects damaged or destroyed by rocks, paint or fire in an escalating campaign by anonymous anti-Olympics vandals. They chronicle their attacks and encourage more via blogs named No2010, MostlyWater, InfoShop, Save Feral Human Habitat and Friends of Grassy Narrows.
“There are people protesting the Olympics legally and peacefully, and there are people that are protesting it illegally and violently,” said Simon Fraser University communications professor Richard Smith, who says a blog is the modern version of a handbill. “All of them want to get their message out.”
Politically charged crimes against property are not new. The Bible claimed Jesus Christ drove moneychangers from a temple by overturning their tables. American colonists trespassed on British ships in 1773′s Boston Tea Party and dumped cargo overboard in a tax revolt that led to the American Revolution. The Squamish Five, an offshoot of Vancouver’s punk rock scene, began with petty vandalism. Members then bombed a power station, military parts factory and porn video shops before they were arrested in 1983.
The anti-2010 vandalism messages frequently refer to the 2010 Games as a “corporate circus” on “stolen native land.” A boycott or cancellation of the Games is urged, but so is an indigenous peoples’ convergence on Vancouver in 2010.
The blog entries don’t include photos or video clips, meaning the culprits are either “lo-tech” or just wary of being caught, according to Smith.
“Whether there has been surveillance video taken or not, I wouldn’t be able to publicly divulge,” said RBC spokesman John Groves, who wouldn’t disclose measures employed to safeguard branches.
None of the blog-publicized acts has led to arrests and charges. Leo Knight, a former policeman and vice-president of Paladin Security, said that doesn’t mean police are unaware of the culprits, or “toads,” as he calls them. Surveillance, he said, is costly and time-consuming work, and police have many cases involving organized crime that rank higher in priority.
Anti-2010 vandalism incidents reported anonymously on blogs
- March 6: Vancouver city hall Olympic flag stolen. Native Warrior Society claims responsibility the next day.
- Aug. 19: Windows smashed at Bell Canada Enterprises building, Bank Street, Ottawa.
- Sept. 29: Windows smashed at Royal Bank of Canada, Hastings & Nanaimo, Vancouver.
- Dec. 8: Pieces of pavement hurled through windows of RBC, Commercial & 1st, Vancouver.
- Dec. 9: Stone thrown through the window of RBC, Hastings & Nanaimo, Vancouver.
- Dec. 24: Windows smashed at RBC, Cook Street, Victoria.
- Jan. 27: Bricks thrown through windows of RBC, Elgin Street, Ottawa.
- Feb. 12: Bricks thrown through windows of RBC, Bank & 1st, Ottawa.
- Feb. 12: Windows smashed at Delta Hotel, Guelph, Ont.
- March 1: Windows smashed at RBC, Elgin Street, Ottawa.
- Feb. 26: Three Welcome to Vancouver signs paint bombed.
- March 5: Windows smashed with ice block at RBC, Bank & 1st, Ottawa.
- May 7: Kiewit construction truck arson at a Vancouver residence.
- May 12/13: Windows smashed at RBC, Broadway & Yukon, Vancouver.
- May 31: Toilets plugged with cement in three McDonald’s restaurants, Victoria
- June 25: At least 13 cars damaged by fire and explosion, West York Chev-Olds, Toronto.
Anti-2010 campaign escalating?
By BOB MACKIN, 24 HOURS
July 22, 2008
Are radical Olympics foes upping the ante in their campaign of vandalism against Vancouver 2010 sponsors?
More than a dozen vehicles at the West York Chevrolet dealership in Toronto were damaged by a suspicious fire and explosion in the wee hours of June 25. An anonymous July 3 posting on the friendsofgrassynarrows.com blog claimed responsibility.
It mentioned General Motors’ corporate downsizing but concluded with: “We did this because GM is an official sponsor of the 2010 Olympic Games. Fuck the Olympics!”
Toronto Fire Services Capt. Mike Strapko was not aware of the blog posting when contacted by 24 hours. A call to the Office of the Fire Marshal was not returned.
The Toronto incident came seven weeks after a Peter Kiewit Sons Co. construction truck was torched on May 7 at a private residence in Vancouver.
The newer-model yellow pickup truck with Kiewit’s logo on the driver’s side door was taken to the Vancouver Police impound lot under the Cambie Bridge’s south end. The windshield and entire front end – including the engine – were destroyed by fire.
VPD Const. Tim Fanning said a second vehicle was also damaged. He said there are no suspects.
The May 9 posting on the mostlywater.org blog said the motive for the arson was Kiewit’s contract to expand the Sea-to-Sky highway, “the main artery for the Olympics.”
The unknown author misspelled both Kiewit and Harriet Nahanee, the late Squamish Nation protester jailed for blocking Kiewit crews attempting to raze West Vancouver’s Eagleridge Bluffs in 2006.
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