Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Anti-Olympic protesters converge on Vancouver

As Vancouver takes the world stage this week as host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, thousands of protesters are planning to crash the party.
Protesters from more than 50 groups are in Vancouver as part of an Olympic Resistance Network. Some of the organizers are veterans of the Battle in Seattle.
"We think everything about the Games as they currently exist is wrong," said Chris Shaw, a professor at the University of British Columbia who is participating in the protests.
"It's hard to imagine that this will not be a serious protest, perhaps of the nature of Seattle. It will be noisy, it will be embarrassing to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and maybe to the city. A lot of people won't like it, but it will be democracy at its best."
Olympic opponents have organized a "Take Back Our City" march from the Vancouver Art Gallery to BC Place Stadium on Friday afternoon before the 6 p.m. opening ceremony.
On Saturday, protesters will aim to disturb the first full day of events with a "Heart Attack: Street March to Clog the Arteries of Capitalism" in downtown Vancouver's Thornton Park, not far from the Olympic athletes' village.
Vancouver police said they will uphold protesters' right to free speech as long as they are peaceful and legal.
The Vancouver Organizing Committee told The Vancouver Sun this week that if the demonstrations during the Olympic Torch relay throughout Canada were any indication, the protests in Vancouver could be less trouble than predicted.Mary McNeil, a British Columbia provincial legislator who is minister of state for the Olympics, said her experience along the relay route shows the Olympic supporters far outweighed protesters



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