It was Sunday afternoon, shortly after the Black Bloc showed up, with a large group of new First Nations…
At about 2pm, I saw two FN men with a large oil barrel-they were smashing holes in the bottom of it, I had no idea why so I asked. They looked very nervous and didn’t respond. I forgot about it the next hour, until I saw them setting it up in front of the stage.
I was shocked & appalled- a fire was the greatest agitation that could have been done at that moment. It was obvious to me that someone was trying to hurt our movement. Curiously, there were VFD there, they asked that a fire not be lit. But, when the FN guys continued to work on the fire, theVFD began to give suggestions on how to make it safer. It was a bizarre scene.
There was a group of FN’s not involved in making the fire who got very angry at the two who were. They basically said it was sacrilegious to start a fire in the name of a provocation. This continued for about 20 minutes before they gave up. This was my first clue that there was something wrong going on.
Soon after, someone from the tent council came to me (and others), asked if we would be willing to learn how to keep a human chain around the (unlit) fire barrel. I looked at them and chuckled, then asked if they understood the consequences of starting the fire. They turned around and walked away. Now I was certain this was a provocation…
There was a short practice session where people formed a human chain, after everyone was certain they knew what they were doing, they stopped. Then the fire was lit- and the whole camp went into a frenzy. Many people left at that moment, I stayed around for a short while longer and watched people’s reaction- then I left.
That evening, I watched the General Assembly through the live stream. It was a curious GA, a large group of new people were in the audience, and there was someone new acting as a moderator. She started to bang through a group of proposals- many of which were not in in the interest of OV’s longevity. The most controversial proposal was that OV should pay for the wood for the ‘Sacred Fire’. This was introduced as a ‘friendly amendment’ meaning that it could be voted on that day, as opposed to the normal process of waiting until the next day. There was no time left for discussion, and a, mostly new, audience voted yes to pay $300 a week for the fire.
Later that night the real fun started. The fire was continuously stoked and refilled until the point where the VFD felt it was necessary to take action and out it out. The human chain was formed when the VFD and VPD showed-up to stop the fire. Members of the Tent Council who weren’t part of the chain began to charge at the police & firemen. The firemen began to shoot a fire extinguisher at the barrel, some of the people in the chain got hit with the fire repellent. And, some of the people in the chain got pushed against the scalding hot barrel- a number of people had their legs burned.
As the Tent council members were charging the VFD/VPD, they began to act like animals- biting, kicking, and someone stole a clip of ammunition from a police officer. Basically, the event became a gong show- senseless violence to protect the #SacredProvocation. The show ended when the fire was out, the VPF & VFD then left.
One of the more unusual parts of this incident is how Tent Council members complained afterwards that the VFD used a ‘special’ fire extinguisher that has mace inside of it. This is completely ridiculous- if the authorities wanted to gas them, it is seriously doubtful they would have gone to such lengths to hide it. But, the Tent people’s minds have been somehow programmed to believe the city wants to physically hurt them. Crazy.
So, there you have it- the story of the #SacredProvocation. It is obvious to me that this was a planned provocation- most likely to scare sensible people away from the camp. It worked too, because many people left when it started, and the GA appeared to be hijacked. The demographics of OV changed dramatically since then- the people who showed-up on Sunday are now running the camp. I asked the police if they saw this on Monday, and they confirmed that a ‘highly organized’ group of people took over OV, and the VPD are concerned that they may be planning to instigate more violence.
When all is said and done, I’m sure this will be looked at as the beginning of the end for OV 1.0. Whatever OV 2.0 will be- it will begin with a solid coded of conduct that will not be allowed to be changed. Until then, what a long strange trip it will be…