Diverse population prepares to protest Olympics

Posted by admin on Jan 29th, 2010

Vancouver Courier, Friday, January 29, 2010

On Feb. 12, an assortment of groups calling themselves the 2010 Welcoming Committee will hold an anti-Olympics rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery at the same time as the opening ceremonies. Here are some of the protestors:

Name: Robert Ages, 56, Birth place: Ottawa, Residence: Ladner
Day job: independent economic and financial consultant. Education: undergrad in economics from York university, finance MBA from University of Toronto.
Groups: national treasurer for the Council of Canadians, a group founded in 1985 to oppose the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
Reason for protesting Olympics: “The involvement of a number of corporations as Olympic sponsors who are exactly the same corporations [the Council of Canadians] is opposing every day, whether in regard to the tar sands or privatization of water–they’re the same people.”
Interesting fact: first protest was at age 13 for student rights.

Name: Lauren Gill, 21

Birth place: Vancouver

Residence: East Side

Day job: works in addiction services as an outreach worker. Education: attends Douglas College working on a social work degree.

Groups: East Vancouver Abolitionists, which opposes prostitution and porn. Gill worked with Community Advocates for Little Mountain and Citywide Housing Coalition.

Reason for protesting Olympics: “My number one concern is the increase in homelessness and poverty in Vancouver and the rent increases and illegal evictions.”

Interesting fact: camped out in front of the B.C. Housing relocation office to protest the demolition of the Little Mountain housing complex.

Name: Sozan Savehilaghi, 27.

Birth place: Kurdistan

Residence: Downtown Eastside

Day job: research assistant at UBC in the global health department. Education: Studied sociology and women’s studies at Simon Fraser University.

Reason for protesting Olympics: “[The] sanitizing of the Downtown Eastside for visitors, specifically the legislation that was proposed around forcing homeless people to be sheltered before the Olympics and also criminalizing homeless people by handing out jaywalking tickets and the [increased] police presence and abuse around the Downtown Eastside.”

Name: Joseph Jones, “between 60 and 65”

Birth place: United States

Residence: East Side in Norquay Village

Day job: retired, librarian emeritus at UBC.

Education: Bachelors degree in French, master’s degree in English. University of Toronto

Groups: Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Working Group and the Olympic Resistance Network.

Reason for protesting Olympics: “Jack Poole famously said in 2001–and he [was] a major Vancouver real estate developer–that if the Olympics weren’t coming, we’d have to invent it. Large interests are out to radically remake Vancouver for the rich and I have been struggling with that in my own neighbourhood for about three years.”

Interesting fact: Came to Canada in 1970 as a “draft resister” and married a Vancouverite.

Name: Gregory Williams, 20

Birth place: New Brunswick, New Jersey

Residence: Kitsilano

Day job: student. Education: UBC, history major

Groups: president of the Student Christian Movement at UBC.

Reason for protesting Olympics: “The police and the government are telling us very, very strongly not to protest, therefore there is a democratic need for everyone who even remotely aligns themselves with the anti-Olympic movement to do just that so we preserve our right to protest.”

Interesting fact: coincidentally shares the same name as an associate of Marc Emery who was arrested with the pot crusader.


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