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From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Sun Jul 14 10:30:19 2002
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 22:21:41 -0500 (CDT)
Organization: The Soylent Green Party
From: Dan Clore <clore@columbia-center.org>
Subject: [smygo] G8 Protest Compilation Story
Article: 141774
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

News for Anarchists & Activists:

Anti-capitalists take Canada’s capital

By Eamon Martin, AGR, 28 June 2002

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 28 (AGR)—Undeterred by near-relentless rainfall, thousands of revolutionary anti-capitalists marched through the streets of Canadas capital city in solidarity demonstrations marked to coincide with the Group of Eight (G8) summit of Western industrial leaders taking place in the remote resort village of Kananaskis in Alberta. Two days of marches ended with demonstrators taking to the steps of the nations parliament where protesters rallied against capitalism, fascism, war, exploitation, imperialism, and George W. Bush.

With no liberal presence in sight, a sea of balaclavas, bandanas, ski masks and red and black flags of militant, soaking-wet protesters followed a serpentine path through Ottawas streets. As high-rise office dwellers gawked at the streets below them, the throngs of thousands chanted in the pouring rain, One-two-three-four we dont want your facist war! Five-six-seven-eight organize and smash the state!

Were trying to defeat capitalism. Capitalism is responsible for most of the worlds problems, explained Bill Lambain, 72, from Toronto and a member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

Protest organizers had put out a call to action to Take the capital on June 26 and 27. Included on their website was an address list of corporate headquarters and international embassies that the event planners figured would be helpful to the visiting protester in search of a good location to vent their frustrations. In response, police were stationed on most street corners. Some of those on the Radical Tour list closed operations for the days of action. An Ottawa McDonalds restaurant shut down, temporarily covering its storefront from top to bottom in plywood. City school children were given a surprise holiday and The Eternal Flame national monument at the capitol was doused and covered.

The goal is very clear a political and economic disruption of those institutions and government offices that help perpetuate the agenda of the G8, said organizer Jaggi Singh.

On Wednesday, around 3,500 demonstrators took the citys streets, stopping traffic in a circuitous route through the capitals financial and commercial district.

During the day, local activists, in a cry for public housing, broke into and occupied an abandoned house. The march paid a visit to the site along its side-winding path.

Behind a banner reading, Sick of waiting? Occupy! activist Dan Sawyer shouted from a second-floor balcony of the squatted house to the hundreds assembled below.

Its a crime that this house is empty while 15,000 families wait seven years to get social housing, said Sawyer. Weve had enough. Were taking over this house.

While police looked over the scene powerlessly, a few masked participants smashed in the windows and popped the tires of a squad car across the street.

At 3:30pm, Ottawa Police Staff Sergeant Rick Levine talked to the squatters and announced that police would not go in to remove them. Its [the situation] not going to change as long as you keep it cool, he said.

Not long after, the days main march culminated with rallying on the steps of Parliament Hill. Protest slogans were quickly spray-painted and written in chalk on much of the areas walkways. Among the phrases freshly adorning The Eternal Flame was Eternal Struggle. A small number shed their clothing while a few others toked victory bowls of marijuana.

One hour later, a separate march descended on the US embassy where revelers protested against US imperialism and the Bush administrations terror war. More than any other G8 leader, the US president was undeniably singled-out as a target of outrage. Protesters chanted Feed Bush more pretzels! and Bush is a terrorist! until their throats were audibly hoarse. And much to the delight of most present an effigy of Bush was set afire in front of the embassy.

The next day, marches continued in much of the same fashion but with an even greater contingent of around 5,000 people participating. Thursdays march was organized under the banner 1000 Flags of Resistance—No One Is Illegal. The central theme was an anti-capitalist attack against the criminalization, subjugation, and exploitation of indigenous peoples worldwide by the industrial forces of the Western world. Moreover, the days events were to express solidarity with those who are struggling for their rights to self-determination, whether in the Philippines, Colombia, Palestine, or even the US and Canada.

Signs depicted slain Genoa, Italy G8 protester Carlo Giuliani beneath the caption Killed By G8.

A widely distributed statement explained: Today, the leaders of the G8 states are meeting in Alberta, surrounded by scenic mountains, golf courses, and thousands of soldiers and police. These eight men are the executive board of global capitalism, and the directors of the so-called War on Terrorism.

We are marching together today in clear opposition to the G8 and its agenda ... Hypocritically, capitalist globalization makes it easier for rich people and their money to cross borders, while controlling and exploiting the poor. We call for open borders, and full rights for migrants and refugees worldwide.

At the outset, police threatened to tow away the marchs sound van. But hundreds of protesters immediately swarmed the vehicle, preventing any such thing from happening.

The march proceeded with delayed stops at crucial intersections, the National Defense Building, the British High Commission, and the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.

Free Palestine! thousands demanded in front of the Israeli embassy.

One Ottawa woman who wished to remain anonymous, nearly 80 and a member of the Raging Grannies, described her groups position: Were here because were older women and were concerned about a decent world being left for our grandchildren. The G8 and all the things theyre doing are fucking up the world.

Despite weeks of alarm about violent protests and snide condemnation by local officials and media, the tenor of the protests were distinctly physically non-confrontational. Besides the damaged squad car, a smashed anti-abortion marquee, some small smatterings of impromptu graffiti, and a few paint balls thrown at a bank or two, property destruction was notably tame. Conversely, there were also few incidents of arrest or police provocation.

Last Autumn, John Baglow, Ottawa resident and regional leader of the Public Service Association of Contracted workers (PSAC), participated in demonstrations against the Group of 20 meetings held at the time. Taken aback by repressive police measures they saw then, Baglow and his wife helped organize a protest witness team. This year, Baglow and other witnesses were on call 24 hours in case the police might renege on their promise to not evict the squatters.

Quite frankly, [police conduct last fall] was outrageous, Baglow said. After a public outcry, the police figured they really had something to learn. They were much better this time.

This year, hundreds of riot police were present in Ottawa but kept out of sight in nearby parking lots and hotels.

Its been asked if were grateful for the police. Lets have a reality check here, offered Singh. There are over a hundred groups whove endorsed this demonstration. Many of them are groups that represent Arab groups, Muslim groups, African groups some groups that are generally targeted. These groups have been visited by the police. Theyve been told explicitly that if you participate in a non-permitted demonstration, you could be arrested, or you know, you might not want to be involved with these groups. Thats whats happening in the background. So you ask if were grateful? No, were not grateful for those visits or that intimidation.

Singh himself is no stranger to protest intimidation. During last years protests against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas summit in Quebec City, the activist was suddenly abducted by undercover police while walking down a city street and then detained for weeks on bogus conspiracy charges that were ultimately thrown out.

Challenging numerous members of the press who attempted to bait the organizer into advocating violence, Singh spoke about the nature of this peace movement at a press conference earlier in the day: What were talking about is community control over resources—those necessities that you need to live your life. When we talk about Africa and the G8—theyre promoting privatization schemes that make water and electricity beyond the ability of the average person in Soweto or other communities in South Africa to have access to those things.

Were talking about cooperative control over these resources, creating decentralized communities, a people-centered economy. This is not Utopia. This is reality. These are things that do occur in small steps all over the place and things that can occur. Theyve occurred historically and they can occur again. But to do so we need to denounce those systems that make that community control, that kind of mutual aid, that kind of community solidarity impossible, because instead youre promoting profit. The leaders of the G8 are quite explicit about this. George Bush said that in order for the economy to prosper, corporations need to make more profits. Thats his vision. I dont think thats the vision shared by most people. Enron and WorldCom — I dont believe people think we need to promote that kind of greed. We promote another vision based on social justice.