February 14, 2010
The more raucous and energetic events of the last few days in Vancouver gave way today to mass participation in a more sombre event with a long history in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of the city.
Now in its 19th year, the annual February 14 Women’s Memorial March honours all the missing and murdered women in the DTES. Over 3000 participants followed the drumming of Indigenous women elders and marched through the streets of the DTES, circling back to the intersection of Main and Hastings, the location of the headquarters of the Vancouver Police.
While the march was not part of the demonstrations against the Olympics, many anti-Olympics demonstrators took part, while respecting the solemn nature of the march by not bringing banners — only five banners are carried at the head of the march, honouring the missing and murdered women — or concealing their identity with masks.
There were numerous sitings of individuals believed to be undercover police on the periphery of the crowd. One individual who was seen at the 2010 Heart Attack demonstration trying to provoke altercations with marchers and photographed numerous times talking to police on Saturday was on site and trailed me and another activist for almost a block, stopping and changing direction when we did and following us until we entered into the main body of participants at the march. There were reports from the legal support team that two Olympics-related arrests were made near the march based on prior identification by police.
Olympics demonstrations resume on Monday with the “No More Empty Talk, No More Empty Lots” rally for homes at Pigeon Park (Carrall and Hastings) in the DTES at noon.