Olympic Torch Relay Being Disrupted Across Canada!

Posted by admin on Jan 22nd, 2010

==> Anti-Olympic Protesters bring their message of resistance across Canada; Olympic Torch shamed on its way to British Columbia where more vibrant protests are expected.

January 21, 2010, Vancouver Unceded Coast Salish Territories- Protesters are bringing their anti-Olympic message with chants of “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land”, “Get your torch off our land, we don’t want your Olympic scam” and “2010 Homes not 2010 Games” across Canada. In many instances, activists have successfully disrupted the Torch Relay, forcing delays and route cancellations, with at least thirteen arrests associated with anti-Torch related actions.

Protesters note that the Olympics are not simply about the athletes; rather the corporate Games are leaving a legacy of displacement, militarization, and repression. Public funds invested by all levels of government are nearing $7 billion. According to the Olympic Resistance Network, “While Olympic corporate sponsors are getting bailed out, Indigenous lands are being stolen, people are becoming homeless, thousands are losing their jobs and access to public services, the environment is being destroyed, and civil liberties are being eroded with almost a billion dollars sunk into surveillance. The negative Olympic legacy is turning into an anti-Olympic legacy of resistance across the country.”

With the number of protesters equaling or exceeding spectators, dissatisfaction to the 2010 Winter Olympics is growing across Canada. According to a November 2009 Angus-Reid poll, over 30% of B.C. residents feel the Olympics will have a negative impact and almost 40% of residents support protesters. An EKOS poll released earlier this month found that almost 70% of BC residents believe that too much is being spent on the Games.

Social justice activists also believe that the Olympic Torch is a $25 million propaganda tool for corporate sponsors who have some of the worst social and environmental practices. The Royal Bank of Canada has been under fire for its financing of the environmentally devastating Alberta Tar Sands, while Coca Cola has been responsible for massive depletion of groundwater and toxic waste pollution in India.

Anti-Olympic actions have followed the Olympic Torch in cities as diverse as Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Roseau River Anishnabe First Nation, Six Nations, Onedia First Nations, Guelph, Toronto, London, Barrie, Kitchener, Stratford, Sept-Iles, Montreal, Kanahwake First Nations, Quebec City, Victoria, Comox Valley, Halifax, Ottawa, Kingston, and St. John’s.

Even more protests and actions are expected as the torch enters BC on Jan 21 , culminating in an Anti-Olympic Convergence from Feb 10-15 organized by the Olympic Resistance Network in Vancouver.


Most recently in Edmonton, dozens of people protested the official Olympics ceremony, while drawing a link between the Games and the Tar Sands in Alberta. Three people were handcuffed and detained on the torch route for allegedly swearing at the torch. They were later released without charge. (Visit: http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/2463). In Saskatoon, protestors waved signs including “True Sport or Corporate Opportunism?” According to demonstration organizer Ashley Budd, corporations are using the games to push product, not sport. In Saskatoon, a rally at the RBC targeted the bank’s sponsorship of the Games, saying it was a greenwashing tactic to get the public to believe the bank is environmentally friendly.

In Winnipeg, the torch parade was blockaded for fifteen minutes, forcing the relay team to extinguish the torch and be transported forward in a truck. While passing through Treaty One territory, Roseau River Anishnabe First Nation Chief Terry Nelson made clear “we cannot allow those athletes to go home believing that Canada is a bastion of human rights. We, as indigenous people, are not terrorists. There is no list of over 500 murdered and missing white women killed by indigenous men, there is however a list of over 500 murdered and missing indigenous women, most of those women were killed by white men.”

In Ontario, a series of high-profile actions and blockades have taken place. Six Nations community activists succeeded in diverting the Olympic Torch from the heart of the Grand River territory. Instead, torchbearers took turns running it around a parking lot. “It’s the first time where any person who has stood up against these torch and Olympics has actually had a success in being able to move the celebration,” protest spokeswoman Missy Elliott said. A Declaration stated “This land is not conquered. We are not Canadian… We hereby affirm our peaceful opposition to the entry and progression of the 2010 Olympic torch into and through our territory.” (Visit: http://6nsolidarity.wordpress.com).

A day later, a blockade in Oneida First Nation, near London, forced the torch to re-route off the reserve entirely. Citing so-called safety concerns, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games said they would not be visiting Oneida as there were members pledging to disrupt the relay and prohibit the flame from entering their community.

Ringing in the New Year, Algonquin, Anishnabe and Haudenosaunee youth were arrested by OPP while setting up a blockade of the Olympic Torch Relay on the Trans Canada Hwy as it travelled from Sudbury to Sault Ste Marie. Mark Corbiere, a member of M’Chigeeng First Nation said that the point of the blockade was “to challenge the idea being rolled forward by VANOC that Canada has a respectful and progressive relationship with Indigenous people and their nations.” The activists were released without charges. (Press releases at: http://peaceculture.org)

Protestors in the streets of Guelph met the torch as it was approaching the downtown area and turning a corner. A scuffle occurred between the torch security/entourage and the protesters. The torch bearer and one of their escorts fell to the ground, dropping the torch. One person was arrested and is being charged with assault.

In Toronto over 250 people took to the streets on December 17, blocking major intersections and forcing the cancellation of the Torch in parts of downtown Toronto. A banner dropped directly across the stage read “Gego Olympics Da-Te-Snoon Nishnaabe-Giing Ga-Gmooding” (“No Olympics on Stolen Native Land” in Anishinaabemowin). (Visit http://torontotorch.blogspot.com)

In London, a group of protestors, who rallied and handed out over 1000 flyers, succeeded in having Torch relay volunteers join the protest instead. (Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEkO04VL334) . In Barrie Ontario, shortly after unrolling their “No Olympics on Stolen native land” banner, one of the protestors was attacked by an attendee. In Kitchener, over 150 people participating in a snake march, consisting of two banner drops across from RBC and within the public torch ceremonies. Protestors converged in Stratford City Hall to vocalize their opposition and were met with a heavy police presence.

For full torch relay updates from Ontario: http://peaceculture.org/drupal/node/439

At least four communities in the province of Quebec have opposed the Torch Relay: Sept-Iles, Montreal, Kanahwake First Nations, and Quebec City. In Montreal, over 200 people converged and delayed the relay as well as the main ceremonies and concert. (Visit: http://www.amp-montreal.net).

On October 30, over 400 people gathered to oppose the Torch Relay launch in Victoria. An Anti-Olympics Festival and Zombie March succeeded in disrupting the relay. Security personnel were forced to extinguish the torch, load it in a van, and reroute it. (Visit http://no2010victoria.net).

Comments are closed.