IMF/WB Protests: 1st Hand Account
This is a really good account of solidarity in the streets and the level of repression our movement is now facing. It shows the power of us standing/moving together. Very good read.
On Saturday, we gather at LeBretton flats to march in the Peace
March.ÿ Our cluster, a group of Pagans, became the Living River,
bringing blue cloth, signs and flyers to focus attention on issues of
water.ÿ The IMF and the World Bank include the privatization of water
delivery services in the structural adjustment programs they impose
on the third world.ÿ With privatization, the costs of drinking water
rise beyond the ability of the poor to pay.ÿ Water, as a crucial
resource, is in shorter and shorter supply, and within the next
decades many places will be facing shortages.ÿ The control of water
resources may soon be as hot a political issue as the control of oil.
The River had a good contingent, probably sixty people, together with
the Mothers and Midwives.ÿ Betty Ann, who had graciously provided a
number of us with food, lodging, transport, jail and legal support
throughout the week during our troubles with Canadian Immigration,
brought The Baby-a giant stocking doll that looks like newborn baby
with an umbilical cord of knotted nylons attached to a giant helium
balloon of the Earth.
A contingent of the black bloc had come to support the march.ÿ We all
started off together, marching in perfect peace and harmony until out
of nowhere a contingent of riot cops in full gear set up a turnstile
roadblock.ÿ They were spread out across the road and the march was
required to walk between them, while snatch teams picked out
individuals to be searched or arrested.ÿ We knew they would be
targeting the black bloc, who as we said had been doing nothing other
than peacefully marching, so we mingled them amongst the River.ÿ The
cops ran in and grabbed a young man, pulling him out of the flow and
throwing him to the ground.ÿ The march broke down.ÿ People were
screaming and cops were snatching kids and crushing them on the
pavement while more police dogs then I've ever seen were snarling and
lunging.ÿ Mothers with babies in strollers were frantically trying to
get away.ÿ Maude Barlow, head of the Council of Canadians, said later
that she was screaming in fear.ÿ On the side, the cops were holding a
group of the bloc at bay, menacing them and others with snarling
police dogs.ÿ A few of us jumped in between to protect the bloc and
confront the police.ÿ "Your dog bit me!" a man next to me was crying.
One man was on the ground, being attacked by a dog who bit him nearly
down to the bone.ÿ The level of sheer, uncalled-for repression united
everyone.ÿ As Betty Ann said, "When the dogs bit The Baby, it
confirmed my solidarity with the black bloc."
While a couple of us kept the attention of the cops in front, Lisa
and some others found an opening and pulled the bloc through and back
into the body of the march.ÿ We quickly moved on.
The bloc was thanking us as we moved away.ÿ On the move, we
organized the River to surround them and keep them away from the
edges of the March where they could be easily snatched
Further along, the police again tried to split the march.ÿ The River
had the bloc well protected on one side, but on the opposite side our
ranks were thin.ÿ The police ran in to attempt to grab the bloc, and
from the other side cops came in to push the rest of the march back.
They drove a line across the road, pushing our contingent, the back
end with bloc and Pagans and others all mingled, away from the main
body of the march.ÿ Riot cops on the side had the dogs which were
menacing people,ÿ Our line was in formation, chanting "Move! Move!"
in unison as they tried to push us back.ÿ They were clearing the
intersection.ÿ We moved back, slowly, and then sat down to make it
harder for them to move us.ÿ The cops stopped.ÿ On the other side of
the intersection, the cops moved away and the crowd surged back
toward us--trapping the line of police who were facing us.ÿ They then
had to thread their way out leaving us the street.ÿ We jumped up,
cheered and moved on, laughing and chanting "Whose streets?ÿ Our
streets!"ÿ It was a moment of triumph. The bloc linked up, chanting,
"The bloc supports the Pagans, the Pagans support the bloc!"
At the rally on the Supreme Court lawn, we had a check in and a
spokes from the bloc came over to thank us and ask if we'd like to
coordinate actions in the afternoon.ÿ "I was glad to support the
bloc," one woman in our group said, "But I don't know exactly what
I'm supporting."ÿ A delightful young man came over and explained to
us that the black bloc is a tactic adopted by mostly anarchist
groups.ÿ They dress in black and mask up out of solidarity, to show
that their actions are not about individuals but about group
cohesion, and because they fear the apparatus of state security.
"We're utopianists," he said.ÿ "We try to live our politics and our
revolution.ÿ We're the most dedicated and committed of the activists.
When we're not blocking up, we're doing all kinds of ongoing
political work.ÿ We serve food to the homeless.ÿ We take over squats,
we work on all kinds of issues.ÿ We don't initiate violence, but if
we're attacked, we'll defend ourselves.ÿ And we're so grateful for
your support.ÿ I'm a Pagan!" he concluded.ÿ "I'm an anarchist!" I
said, and much of the River agreed.
After the rally, a different militant contingent marched to the
barricades and attempted to storm them but was pushed back by water
cannons, pepper spray and rubber bullets.ÿ We held a spiral dance in
the red zone, snake danced across barricades, and then went across
the river and around to the green zone reserved for nonviolent civil
disobedience.ÿ Paul, one of the organizers, with three others had
peacefully attempted to cross the barricades and been arrested,
hauled roughly off and tasered in the leg.ÿ We arrived just after
he'd been take away and led a spiral dance.
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