March 15th, 2005, will mark the ninth year of the International Day Against Police Brutality (IDAPB). It first began in 1997 as an initiative of the Black Flag collective in Switzerland, with the help of the Montreal Collective Opposed to Police Brutality. The date was chosen because on March 15th, two children, aged 11 and 12, were beaten by the Swiss police.
We are individuals who have been involved in organizing IDAPB events for the past two years in Vancouver. This time around we preparing for a march through the streets on the night of March 15th, starting at 7:00 pm at Victory Square on the corner of Hastings and Cambie Street.
We are not calling for a protest or a demonstration. Our purpose is not to whine to the media about how awful the police are. Instead, we want to open up space for people that are directly affected by police brutality to express their anger and take action. We are not a charity, religious, or legal group trying to save the poor.
We are individuals who do not want to live under the clubs and watchful eyes of the cops, and we want to fight alongside those who feel the same way. We choose to organize independently from all political activist groups and parties, and encourage others to form affinity groups and initiate actions against police control. Events leading up to March 15th are also in the works.
In every society the police are the frontline soldiers and occupying army in service of the rich. Vancouver itself is the product of the violent displacement, imprisonment and forced religious indoctrination of the indigenous peoples of the Sto:lo, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. The Vancouver police murder of Frank Paul (a Mi'kmaq man) in 1998, the non-investigation of the missing women cases, and the escalated police occupation of the Downtown Eastside since April 2003 are only the most recent examples of this ongoing legacy of colonialism. The police brutality and killings that make the headlines are only the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is the parasitic economic system that the cops are paid to defend.
The Vancouver Police Department is fighting a war for control of the city. With the Safe Streets Act and the ongoing yuppification of Vancouver neighbourhoods, this war can only escalate. IDAPB is a step towards building effective resistance to the police at a practical level.
With respect to the memory of Vancouver residents killed by the police (Gerald Chenery, Robert Bagnell, Roman Andreichikov, Chistopher Ecklund, Benny Matson, Jeff Berg, Frank Paul, and others), let's take the streets on March 15th.
Independent IDAPB Organizing Group - Vancouver