#OccupyCondos: With Naomi Klein

I arrived to the site of the demonstration a bit early. My favorite mayoral candidate Saxmaniac and a couple of other demonstrators were visible from across the street, as were Vancouver’s finest, and a reporter from the SunVince. Lisa Johnson from the CBC must have been busy covering some other story- we missed you Lisa!

Construction site managers 'securing' the site from the 'dangerous' occupiers...

A couple of guys who looked to be management of the construction site were there, busy using plastic ties to ‘secure’ the site- you all know how dangerous we Occupiers can be! They found a needle on their side of the fence, and somehow felt it was a good idea that they should throw it out on the sidewalk!

Needle that the developers threw out onto the street- shame!

Saxmaniac noticed that, despite being on a construction site, both the managers were not wearing helmets or steel-toed boots! With that knowledge, I called WorkSafe BC and filed a complaint! They had an inspector call me back, and they promised to investigate- I have supplied them with pictures for evidence. They really shouldn’t have thrown out the needle in front of us, there will be a big fine in their future! hehe

Members of VANDU (Vancouver Area Drug Users Network) displaying their banner...

As the crowd began to grow, member of VANDU came and rolled-out their banner. This is a rather controversial group in our city- but, they were friendly and welcoming…

Velcro Ripper on the scene, filming Naomi Klein & Harsha Walia as they toured the site...

It was a celebrity & special-guest packed day. Velcro Ripper, a well-known, award winning film maker was on-site. He started by trailing behind Naomi Kline & Harsha Walia as they toured around the site. Harsha was showing Naomi the posters put-up by a smart-ass developer. Notice how he priced the book at $61 and mentioned it was for sale at Spartacus Books- both these bits of information are incorrect.

Illegal poster put up by the developer- some strange kind of provocation...

They also were kind enough to put up a welcome sign for Occupy Vancouver! Too bad he didn’t realize this was not an officially sanctioned OV event! But, nobody claimed these developers are smart- more that they are well connected and ruthless!

Smartass sign put-up by the developer- shame he didn't take the needle across the street and dispose of it properly!

As is traditional with Harsha’s events, First Nation’s people started with some music and drumming…

First Nation's induction to the gathering

There were a number of speakers before Naomi- all were great. My favorite was Herb- a former Occupier of the Paris Annex. He was a very dynamic speaker who kept the crowd interested..

Herb captivating the crowd...

Then, the main attraction, Naomi Klein!

The event was caught on Livestream by OV’s most dedicated member of the Media Committee, Tom A.

Tom A catching the Livestream...

Once the speakers were finished, we began a march down Hastings street to a new condo development that was opening that day on Carroll St.

Demonstrators holding the banner...

I joined holding the banner and helped lead the way as we marched down the street- it was an exhilarating experience!

Me holding the banner at the front of the pack...

When we arrived at the new condo, the crowd gathered and made some statements about how this new development was beyond the capabilities of most residents of the DTES to pay for.

The crowd in front of the new condo on Carroll St...

We were being observed by the enemy- one of the men who leads the development of this new condo. We presented him with a gift basket including boxes of used roach motels! He accepted the gift basket with a reluctant smile…

A dark lord of condo development...

The last act of the day was to post a Notice of Eviction on the new condo. I’m sure the new residents were left less than comfortable moving into their new homes.

So, a successful demonstration came to a close. The more I think about the group’s demands: “No new condos until the DTES homelessness problem is solved”, the more I agree with it. That said, I feel a bit sorry for the people who were moving in that day- I’m sure this protest took a bit of the shine off of their new purchase…

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