Political activism, Vancouver
My cousin explained to me how protesting works in Canada, and it's a little different than it is in the U.S. You don't have to be part of a union, and you don't have to get prior permission. You can just show up with picket signs, and no one will arrest you, or ask you to leave. Basically, anyone who wants to, can protest, about anything. There are police officers though, to make sure that things don't get out of control.
These relaxed laws, mean that protests are a common site in Vancouver. Protests mainly take place around the Art Gallery, usually on weekends, and cover a wide range of topics, but mainly political and social issues.
When we were there, there was a group of Iraqis protesting America's evolvement in the Middle East. There were also a few smaller protests taking place, but I didn't know what they were about. This was only my third time seeing a large scale protests. Even kids get involved in these things.
These protests aren't only limited to the Art Gallery. You can find them anywhere, including in the city’s suburbs. Sometimes protests are as simple as a sign on a building.
These protests are usually peaceful, and usually don't get violent, but you never know, so be on your toes. Though we hung around for a while, and didn't feel that we were in any danger. But these protests are more of an annoyance, than they are a danger, as it gets crowded, and you cannot get into the art gallery. Though most of the locals and tourists seemed to be ignoring the protests, and just going about their business. In fact, there was even a party going on, just a few yards away.
It's nothing to be concerned about, but it's good to know that they do take place. You might get pissed off, if you support the opposite side, or misinterpret something. That’s about it.
After walking throughout Vancouver for a couple of days you will surely come upon some activist for a variety of causes I have a picture here of some people resisting the fur trade and I remember another lady with green peace.
There are a number of web sites on the Internet as well, I included one for your enjoyment.
If you have the time, stop and chat with these people, the causes really are important in most cases and we should be listening more to these different points of view.
This protester I am sure is aware and would love the way they stick rods up these animals behinds on breeding farms. That is pretty sick when you think about it?
Since the 1960's or so, Vancouver has been a city where alternatively-minded individuals conglomerate. Opinions tend to swing to the left as opposed to the right. I suppose it started in the 60's, with the emergence of a hippy culture along West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano. Hundreds of draft dodgers called Vancouver home during the Vietnam War.
Greenpeace was founded in Vancouver in the 1970's. A decade later, Vancouver gave birth to Adbusters. Even famous genetics scientist and environmental activist David Suzuki calls Vancouver home. Political activism and environmentalism are very much a part of the Vancouver psyche.
However, it was at UBC's 1997 APEC meeting where friction got the better half of the activism. The protests against globalism turned into chaos as the police pepper sprayed the protesters. A giant public debate ensued for years. Who was to blame? Were the protesters at fault for using their rights, or were the police to blame by using brute force? Perhaps the Pacific Rim rulers were to blame, feeling uncomfortable around large masses of university students. It was never solved.
Protests still occur, but never to the same fiasco as APEC. When Premier Gordon Campbell came into power in 2001. He changed the contracts of the teachers, making them essential services, throwing away their bargaining tools. The next thing we know, thousands of BC teachers are marching through the downtown streets unhappy with the situation, wanting change.
To this day you'll find a permanent site outseide the Chinese Consulate on Granville Street protesting the Chinese government punishment of Falun Dafa. During the moments before the Iraq war, there were monthly peace marches throughout the city, as seen in the picture attached.
I took that picture during the February 15th Peace March. About 40-50,000 people showed up. All ages, all races. This is Vancouver.