Friday, February 19, 2010

Protesting Too Is An Olympic Event

Along with the thousands of athletes, legions of journalists and hoards of spectators that have all descended upon Vancouver for the Olympic games, another group has come to town: Olympic protesters. On Monday there was a minor diplomatic incident when a young American was arrested by the Vancouver police on charges that included assaulting a police officer and inciting violence after an anti-Olympics rally turned into a vandalism spree in downtown Vancouver.

The protesters have a stew of Olympic-related complaints: Monday’s incident started out as a demonstration against the “carbon footprint” of the Games, and their ultimate effect on global climate change; another popular topic for protesters has been the diversion of public funds to build temporary housing for Olympic athletes (the Olympic Village) rather than providing permanent shelter for the city’s homeless population. To illustrate their point, homeless activists went as far as to set up their own “Olympic village” of tents for the indigent in downtown Vancouver.

That thought reminded of the song “Gassy Jack” by the Vancouver-based band, The Evaporators (for a brief musical interlude, see the video below), which includes the line: “social housing for the needy / not lofts for the greedy.” The 21st Winter Olympics will wrap up next weekend.

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