On June 27th 2012, I attended a Casserole demonstration in solidarity with Quebec students at the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG). So did the Vancouver Police Department's 'Public Safety Unit.'
As the rally began, there was a 1 to 1 ratio of police to demonstrators. After being approached and informed that if we marched and blocked intersections or oncoming lanes of traffic, we would be arrested, we decided to stay at the VAG and that we would 'casserole' and approach officers present and ask for their names and badge numbers, which they are legally obligated to provide.
As many of you know, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the ex-spokesperson of CLASSE, was recently in town. Some of us had the opportunity of having a much more in depth conversation with him where we discussed, in some detail, the structure and strategy employed by CLASSE. There are some great lessons to be learned.
The greatest thing that we can learn from the Quebec student uprisings is that if we are able to mobilize en masse, if we are able to get thousands and thousands of people to coordinate activity, we can take down the government and bring about the changes that we all envision.
Sasha Wiley, a Vancouver teacher, was the first speaker at a press conference held Friday, June 29 outside the courthouse and jail at 222 Main Street. She denounced the arrests by Vancouver police of herself and more than 10 other participants in casseroles protest actions over the past two weeks. In this clip, Wiley explains that at the time of her arrest Wednesday night she was even wearing the relevant section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on her clothing.
Last night in Vancouver seven participants in a casserole solidarity demonstration were detained and/or arrested by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD).
They were taken down violently, roughed up, cuffed, searched and detained for hours. They were not informed as to why they were being arrested, or what if any laws they may have broken. They were, in short, denied most of their Charter rights.
Two were taken into custody at the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) as the march was about to begin. The other five were detained a few hours later during a jail solidarity vigil outside the police station at 222 Main Street, where the first two were being held.