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Protesters Vow To "evict" Vanoc Officials From Their Homes, Offices


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Protesters walk past VANOC headquarters in Vancouver Wednesday May 16, 2007 protesting against the 2010 Olympic Games. (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

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Vancoouver Police stand behind a wire barrier put up to keep Olympic 2010 protesters from getting into VANOC headquarters in Vancouver Wednesday May 16, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody)

Protesters vow to 'evict' Olympic officials

Updated Wed. May. 16 2007 5:39 PM ET

Canadian Press

VANCOUVER -- Anti-poverty protesters threatened to "evict'' Vancouver Olympic officials from their homes and offices in retaliation for what they see as the eviction of the poor from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

A busload of noisy protesters arrived in front of the offices of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympics on Wednesday afternoon as the committee wrapped up a regular board meeting.

The protesters were met with throngs of police officers who surrounded the building.

David Cunningham, of the Anti-Poverty Committee which organized the protest, said demonstrators chose to leave rather than play games with police.

"What we do plan on doing is targeting each and every individual on the VANOC board and holding them individually responsible for what they have done to the hundreds of people on the Downtown Eastside,'' Cunningham said.

He said protesters hold Olympic organizers personally responsible for people who have been pushed out of their homes in the tough inner-city neighbourhood.

"We have found where their offices are, we have found where their homes are. We're going to go and we're going to evict them from their offices like they've evicted hundreds of our brothers and sisters,'' he said.

"This isn't a game. This is a struggle. This is a life and death struggle. We are going to struggle and win.''

Critics have said hundreds of people have been left homeless as single-room occupancy hotels have been closed down. The so-called SROs are the lowest rung on the housing ladder, providing cheap though squalid housing for people in the tough neighbourhood.

But as Vancouver's housing market remains red hot, developers are pushing into the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood to build condos and at least one hotel owner has publicly acknowledged he was closing to make room for much more lucrative housing.

Spokesman for VANOC note their plan for the Olympics includes turning over some of the athletes' village for low-income housing and for giving employment to residents of the eastside neighbourhood.

There was no violence at Wednesday's protest.

That came as a relief, said Vancouver police Sgt. Tim Fanning.

"It's unfortunate that we had to have these officers here, but that's the way it is for now,'' he said.

"We certainly believe people are entitled to lawful protest. We just don't want to see any violence or criminal activity.''

Earlier this year, a demonstrator barged onto the stage at the unveiling of the Olympic countdown clock, pushing a VANOC official aside and shouting obscenities.

Police made a handful of arrests, saying some protesters were hurling projectiles.

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i agree with the protesters on this one. **** VANOC and evictions. of course it is the well off evicting the poorest. arg. why can't we just be friends and build some GD social housing already?

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i agree with the protesters on this one. **** VANOC and evictions. of course it is the well off evicting the poorest. arg. why can't we just be friends and build some GD social housing already?

the fact that many who are protesting are perfectly capable of getting a job and a place to live with the economy we have today, but are simply too lazy and think society owes them everything. social housing isn't a right nor is poverty a lifestyle, which is what the Anti-Poverty Committee preaches. and it's not like VANOC is doing the evicting.

----------------------------------------------

Vancouver Olympic officials targeted by Anti Poverty Committee

'We're going to bring the class war to their offices and their doorsteps'

Damian Inwood, The Province

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2007

Anti-poverty protesters vowed to "evict" Vancouver Olympic officials from their homes after their protest fizzled in front of VANOC's headquarters yesterday.

Key APC members control the board of directors of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, a multi-million dollar social housing agency.

BC Housing is currently investigating DERA over allegations APC members have received social housing at DERA facilities despite having full-time jobs. It is alleged APC members have also jumped housing waiting lists. The report will be completed within a month.

On Wednesday, about 30 APC protesters marched away chanting slogans when confronted by more than 50 Vancouver police and security officers posted behind a riot fence.

"What we plan on doing is targeting each and every member of the VANOC board and holding them individually responsible for what they have done to hundreds of people in the Downtown Eastside," said David Cunningham of the Anti-Poverty Committee.

"We have found where their offices are and we have found where their homes are . . . When they feel safe in their . . . palaces, we're going to show up and we're going to bring the class war to their offices and their doorsteps."

Vancouver 2010 CEO John Furlong said he was saddened to hear of the personal threats to board members, who met yesterday.

"When you make people feel unsafe and there's a threat, it's unfortunate and it's uncomfortable and it doesn't make anybody feel good," he said.

He defended the decision to build the fence around the VANOC offices.

"We basically secured our facility the way we thought we should, based on what we had heard might happen today," added Furlong. "We were informed by people that they were going to try to enter the building, try to invade the boardroom."

Police officers patrolled VANOC's Gravely Street HQ and checked under parked cars for stashed missiles.

Vancouver police spokesman Const. Tim Fanning said of the threats to board members: "They will be investigated and if there is any possibility of putting charges forward, then that's what we'll do."

He denied the show of force was an overreaction: "It always appears that way, but for everybody's safety, we have to have what we feel is an adequate number."

Fellow VPD spokesman Const. Howard Chow said costs are always "significant" when policing protesters like those in the APC. Policing the March Olympic flag-raising ceremony at city hall, for example, cost Vancouver taxpayers an estimated $30,000, he said.

Maureen Bader, the B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a group highly critical of Olympic spending, said anyone who targets the homes of VANOC board members should be dealt with quickly. "We should not be spending millions of dollars to set up security around people's homes -- we should be arresting the criminals," she said.

The APC protest was planned, in part, to oppose VANOC's policy of keeping board meetings closed.

The issue of open meetings was discussed by the VANOC board but a unanimous decision was made to keep them closed to the public.

Board member Rusty Goepel, chairman of the VANOC corporate governance committee, said the decision was made because "we cannot expect to have open, candid and constructive debates in a fishbowl." dinwood@png.canwest.com

-- with files by Matthew Ramsey

© The Vancouver Province 2007

wow......stealing social housing? that's just sad.

Not to mention wasting precious police resources and wasting VANOC's money - both which all come out of the pockets of taxpayers. I agree with the decision to keep the board meetings closed. Let VANOC do their job. This isn't exactly a city council meeting.

Protestors Crash VANOC Recruitment in Halifax

April 25, 2007 - 10:28 — no2010

On the morning of April 24, 2007, VANOC kicked off a recruitment drive in Nova Scotia with a keynote presentation by Donna Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Human Resources division at VANOC held at the Westin Hotel in downtown Halifax.

At approximately 8:15 am, half a dozen protesters crashed the event, overtook the podium at the front of the room and spoke to the detrimental impacts that the Olympic Games have already had and will continue to have on the urban poor, low-income communities, and Native peoples. Fact sheets were

dropped on all the tables while one of the activists read out a list of grievances from groups in BC.

Shouting 'No olympics on stolen land! Homes not Games!' as they were forced out of the room, the protestors vowed to return with increased resistance and force should VANOC attempt any further bullshit promotional charades on the East coast.

btw, David Cunningham (leader of the APC) was convicted of shoplifting when he was 19. says a lot.

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Seems to me like the protestors are hurting their cause. The more they threaten harm to the VNOC members and the Olympics themselves, the more Vancouver and B.C. citizens will turn against them and be in favour of the Games. That's my point of view, like that it matters, which it doesn't.

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Why is VANOC recruiting in Nova Scotia?

Because VANOC really wants the Vancouver Games to be Canada's Games.

I think that's smart considering one of the issue of Torino 2006 was the fact that, up to the final weeks, they were considered as a regional event with no real excitement in the rest of Italy (that changed with the Torch Relay).

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Yeah, but Canada is a HUGE country. Halifax is 6000 km away from Vancouver. And most surveys indicate that most Canadians are looking forward to the event. That's the product of marketing, not recruitment. Does VANOC really need to put that much effort into recruiting? They do need a large number of staff but they also say they receive a high volume of applicants. Seems wasteful to me.

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Stolen Land? <_<

If they want to see what "stolen land" is they need to take a look at Bejing.

Last I checked Canada is a free and capitalist society. If someone has property in an area that a developer wants to go into and can get a good price for it why shouldn't he/she have the freedom to sell?

I am so tired with this sense of entitlement. :angry:

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Councillors will be protected against anti-Olympic activists' threats, police chief says

Frances Bula, Vancouver Sun

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2007

Vancouver Police Chief Jamie Graham has sent an e-mail to city councillors warning them there have been threats that their homes or businesses may be targeted by anti-Olympics protesters, and assuring them they will be protected.

Graham's e-mail, sent at 8:50 a.m. Thursday, said: "We are conducting an investigation and I have asked our people to pursue these alleged threat(s). As part of this, I have also asked that each of you be contacted and provided with preventive advice along with contact numbers should you feel the need for additional advice and guidance. Your names and home addresses, if not already done, will be 'flagged' on our computer systems, should a call be received."

Mayor Sam Sullivan said that while he's not worried about any protesters coming to his Yaletown apartment, other councillors have expressed concerns about protesters showing up at their homes. "I believe it is unacceptable to be intimidating anybody at their home."

He's also concerned that some threats were made against staff. City manager Judy Rogers is a member of the Vanoc board.

The Anti Poverty Committee made public threats this week that, since Vanoc would not allow the public to attend board meetings, they would protest at board members' homes.

There is no record of threats of going to councillors' homes.

Vision Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson said he's not heard anything about any threats to councillors specifically. He believes none of this would be happening if Vanoc were more open.

"Part of the reason there are so many people acting out is because they're frustrated because they don't feel part of the process."

His colleague, Raymond Louie, said he is confused by the chief's message.

"I haven't received any threat. None of us know what was uttered exactly."

Louie said it's also his understanding that there is no law to prevent people from protesting at private homes.

"I question the tactic of going to people's personal residences," he said, "but until people actually break the law, I don't think it's appropriate to overreact. People can go to your homes to talk to you -- that's what reporters do."

Non-Partisan Association Coun. Suzanne Anton said she does think it would constitute intimidation to have a member of the APC marching outside her house.

Anton said she found the chief's e-mail reassuring. "I'm glad to see he is looking out for us."

© The Vancouver Sun 2007

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Stolen Land? <_<

If they want to see what "stolen land" is they need to take a look at Bejing.

Last I checked Canada is a free and capitalist society. If someone has property in an area that a developer wants to go into and can get a good price for it why shouldn't he/she have the freedom to sell?

I am so tired with this sense of entitlement. :angry:

Yeah, but the stolen land claim is from militant first nations groups. The fact is, the four first nations in the region of the games fully support 2010.

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Yeah, but the stolen land claim is from militant first nations groups. The fact is, the four first nations in the region of the games fully support 2010.

O.K. - so excuse my ignorance on this issue but what - the "First Nations Group' want to go in and build a casino and VANOC is shutting them out?

See my avatar as to why I have very little patience for this type of thing.

I am just assuming, of course, but the land in question has been sitting there what - forever - housing lower income people. And now that the Olympics are coming to town all the sudden it is important to the "First Nations?"

Trying to understand this. B)

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The argument really doesn't make much sense because the Games aren't being held on any native/reserve lands. But I think it goes back to the old "we were here first" argument. The likely claim that all of North America was "stolen". And they are just using the 2010 Games as a stage because the whole world is watching.

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The argument really doesn't make much sense because the Games aren't being held on any native/reserve lands. But I think it goes back to the old "we were here first" argument. The likely claim that all of North America was "stolen". And they are just using the 2010 Games as a stage because the whole world is watching.

O.K. - just what I thought.

(BTW - nice to see Amik make an appearance again B) )

O.K. - going off here -

WTF???? <_<

Vancouver has been sitting there for hundreds of years. And the grounds in question have been there as long. But where were the first naions when it was filled with the poor?

Nowhere.

But now that they have been awarded with the Olympics, Vancouver's "Natives" are suddenly coming out of the closet and saying, "Well, that ground is actually ours because of what the White Men did!"

Please.

Edited by LA84
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^ well, it's a very few minority of the First Nations that are against the Games. As Kendegra said, the four host first nations all fully support the Games. The government has gone huge measures in giving back to them in exchange for their support for 2010:

- something like $60 million and hundreds of acres of provincial owned land near Whistler

- post-games housing at the Whistler Olympic Village

- provincial funding for a Squamish First Nations museum

What else do they want?

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^ well, it's a very few minority of the First Nations that are against the Games. As Kendegra said, the four host first nations all fully support the Games. The government has gone huge measures in giving back to them in exchange for their support for 2010:

- something like $60 million and hundreds of acres of provincial owned land near Whistler

- post-games housing at the Whistler Olympic Village

- provincial funding for a Squamish First Nations museum

What else do they want?

Everything.

I've found out from experience lately with the uproar over my universities mascot that even if a majority of Indian nations support something, all it takes is one to raise a fuss and totally throw a wrench into the works.

Obviously this one nation wants something. And I seriously doubt it has to do with housing the poor. Do you have Indian Gaming in BC? If so, that is my first thought - that they want to put a casino somewhere nearby and make a killing off of 2010. At least that is how it always seems to work in California.

Edited by LA84
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It's a great day for Vancouver.

Cunningham arrested for 'uttering threats' against VANOC

Christina Montgomery, The Province

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2007

Friends of anti-poverty activist David Cunningham said he was arrested yesterday afternoon after arranging to meet a man who claimed to be a journalist for a Vancouver newspaper.

Jill Chettiar, a fellow member of the Anti-Poverty Committee, told The Province that Cunningham got a call at about 1 p.m. from someone claiming to be "Peter McKay" from 24 Hours, a free city daily.

The man arranged for the two to meet later at the Tinseltown complex downtown, Chettiar said. Cunningham, who went alone, was approached by police outside the centre and arrested, she said.

No one could be reached at the offices of 24 Hours.

Vancouver police Const. Tim Fanning confirmed that Cunningham was arrested at about 3:45 p.m. at Abbott and Pender streets and faces charges related to uttering threats.

He said Cunningham was released at 8 p.m. last night on a surety to keep the peace.

Fanning said the threats related to Cunningham's appearance May 16 at Vancouver 2010 Olympic headquarters, where he announced publicly a plan to "bring the class war" to the "offices and doorsteps" of the members of VANOC, the Games' organizing committee.

"We have found where their offices are and we have found where their homes are," Cunningham said, and "evictions" were planned. Fanning said police had sought conditions for Cunningham's release that included no direct or indirect contact with VANOC board or team members at their businesses or homes, that he stay two blocks from VANOC's Graveley Street offices and that he stay away from any event hosted by VANOC.

cmontgomery@png.canwest.com

© The Vancouver Province 2007

Portrait of an anti-poverty activist

DAVID CUNNINGHAM: Says 'vulgar' protests are drawing attention to group's causes

Lena Sin, The Province

Published: Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's just hours after Vancouver police announced they're launching yet another investigation into the city's most antagonistic group of Olympic protesters, and their unofficial leader, David Cunningham, is looking relaxed.

Smug, even.

Reporters have been by all day -- something Cunningham sees as a sign that his self-described "vulgar" activism is working.

"We don't have money to lobby. Our power is through disruption and I think we've proven pretty clearly -- even by this interview right now -- that these tactics work," he says.

Even those who don't recognize the name David Cunningham or his group, the Anti-Poverty Committee, can't help but know what he's been up to lately.

As the spokesman and public face of the APC, Cunningham is best-known for wreaking havoc at Olympic events, with each protest costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in policing manpower.

Last Wednesday, Cunningham publicly threatened to "evict" VANOC officials from their homes and offices -- an act described as "outrageous" by the VPD and "reprehensible" by observers.

Not that that means anything to Cunningham, who when asked, eagerly explains what he means by evict: "Files are thrown around perhaps, maybe even a stapler will be thrown in a box and chucked out into a hallway.

"But it's nothing compared to people's belongings being thrown out into the back alleys and having those people follow because they're not being relocated."

Thomas Malenfant, a young, blond APC member, puts it more crudely: "S--t's gonna fly."

The APC is anti-Olympics because members believe the money being spent on the Games should be redirected to social housing, and that the people living in Canada's poorest neighbourhood are being swept out to impress visitors in 2010.

But it's clear the APC needs the Games as much as they hate them.

No other platform has given them so much attention -- and Cunningham's the first to admit it.

The APC has 200 members and was formed in 2001, back when Premier Gordon Campbell was coming into power and Cunningham was still a crack addict living on the streets of the Downtown Eastside.

Born and raised in Stratford, Ont., a pretty town known for its annual Shakespeare festival, Cunningham was drawn to Vancouver "because the crack out here was a lot better than it was in Ontario."

He dropped out of high school at the age of 15 and was homeless in Vancouver by the time he was 18.

Now a 28-year-old father to three year-old Elaby, Cunningham says he's been clean ever since his best friend's dad intervened in 2003.

It was also around that time that his taste for confrontation got the attention of the media.

As a member with the Housing Action Committee in 2003, Cunningham was at the forefront of running an illegal safe-injection site at what is now the APC office, located at Carrall and Hastings, where the smell of urine hangs thick.

Since then, the press has kept following Cunningham, whether he's staging tent-city squats or railing about how the poor are treated.

Which is not to say he's garnered the support of everyone in the Downtown Eastside.

"They're giving poor people a bad name," says long-time activist Jamie Lee Hamilton. "I've done some things that are pretty out there -- I dumped 67 pairs of shoes on city hall, one for each [woman reported to have disappeared from downtown streets] -- but my actions have never been violent."

Cunningham is currently facing charges of mischief and causing a disturbance for allegedly storming the stage at a February Olympic event. He's also facing assault and wilful obstruction charges for allegedly getting into a scrap with a police officer while trying to stop a city meeting last November.

He plans to plead guilty to the mischief charge, an act he was once convicted of in 2004. He also says he has two drug-related convictions from his youth.

He's also at the centre of a B.C. Housing audit investigating claims that as an employee of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, Cunningham and his partner, Jill Chettiar, were unfairly given priority to DERA-subsidized housing.

Chettiar is the treasurer of DERA; Cunningham works as a community coordinator for the non-profit two days a week for $16 an hour.

Hamilton prompted the audit and freely admits she doesn't like the influence the APC wields on DERA -- an organization considered to have influence on local politics .

Cunningham flatly denies using his position with DERA to queue-jump the social housing wait list. He's also adamant he has no political aspirations. Still, politicians do not dismiss him, in part because he's proven to be articulate, if angry.

"He's somewhat like a corporate lawyer. He's very fast and can put a person in a corner brutally, quite quickly and easily," said Vision Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson. "Anyone he doesn't see as being helpful, he doesn't have time for."

But for now, Cunningham is giving the angry rhetoric a break. On Friday night, he threw a party to celebrate six months of anti-Olympic activism. It's been a success, he says.

"Our demonstrations have escalated. Everything has gone according to plan and the police, regardless of their attempts to undermine our work, have been unsuccessful.

"We're using the Games and their promises to mobilize people to demand what is theirs."

lsin@png.canwest.com

© The Vancouver Province 2007

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Olympic protester arrested

Saturday, May 19 - 08:42:44 PM Kate Forman

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - Vancouver Police have now confirmed Anti-Poverty Committee organiser David Cunningham has been arrested. They say he was taken in just before 4pm this afternoon at the corner of Abbot and Pender on the downtown Eastside.

Police say the arrest was made in connection to threats Cunningham made earlier this week against Olympic board members outside VANOC's offices.

He has since been released on several conditions. These include not having any contact with board members, not to go near their homes or offices and not to attend VANOC events.

Kim Kerr with the Downtown Eastside Residents Association says that the police posed as a reporter with 24 hours to entice Cunningham into a meeting. When he arrived for the interview the VPD moved in and made the arrest.

Kerr says it's the usual overkill from the cops trying to smear them for symbolically suggesting they would evict board members from their homes and offices.

Previous APC protests, including one involving bottles filled with urine and paint, are also currently being investigated.

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