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Vancouver protests against police, for a better world

Justice for Chantel Moore rally in Vancouver
Zain ul Haq

June 18, 2020

On the 13th of June, in Vancouver, there were protests across the city.

At the Art Gallery alone, there was a fascinating combination of different protests happening simultaneously and successively: a rally to mark the 1 year since the Honk Kong protests, a rally of domestic immigrant workers marking International domestic workers’ day and of course, the rally to protest the police shooting of Chantel Moore, and strangely enough, a pro-gun rally even (the smallest in number), although some of them seemed to be supporting the other protests. All of these were taking place only meters apart.

Residents at CRAB Park were organizing to protect their home from a raid by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD), with support from several organizations. The original rally that was supposed to take place at 12 pm was postponed to 3 pm due to another rally that was happening simultaneously at the Art Gallery in protest of the murder of Chantel Moore, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman who was murdered in a police shooting.

Each rally had its own significance and the need for solidarity and support, which split a great deal of protesters and activists who wanted to show support for all of them. On the same day, people at a protest against police brutality and in support of Black Lives Matter had been blocking the Georgia viaduct.

The coexistence of these protests also resulted in an interdependence and a strong show of solidarity, with residents at CRAB Park chanting “Black lives matter” and encouraging people to first go to the other demonstration.

Speakers at the rally for Chantel Moore supported the action at CRAB park, with one of the speakers, Dakota, saying to the cops “don’t you have some homeless people you need to be harassing right now?” Everyone at every single one of these actions had a common enemy: the oppressive institution of the police. The police’s hostility towards these demonstrations shows that the police was never meant to be protecting the people in the first place.

Disband the police!
The elder at the Chantel Moore protest stated that “The RCMP needs to be dismantled for our safety!” This is important to emphasize because the only reason why institutions like the RCMP still exist is because there is an assumption on the part of many people that these institutions are meant to keep us safe. This elder reminds us that the only way to achieve safety is if the police are dismantled. She also stated that “When the police is called, there is this enigma that they will come to protect the community, this is not true for First Nations. There is a higher chance that it will become violent.”

Another speaker stated “being a cop in 2020 is shameful”, a recognition that this is an unnecessary institution that has run its course and we should follow the example of our comrades in the US and have a movement that aims at dismantling the police force. There were many speakers throughout the day who mentioned how the police force was created to maintain colonialism in the first place and as a result, it has a very heavy burden to bare.

Even though all the protests throughout the day were focusing on different issues, they were all a result of disillusionment from institutions that humans have taken for granted for centuries. A speaker at the pro Hong Kong protest remarked “Revolution is decades of blood and tears that serves as the foundation of a new nation”, a powerful quote that teaches us that revolutionary change is not easy and requires decades of dedicated effort on the part of the people and a willingness to carry on.

The scenes at the art gallery, the viaduct and CRAB park also remind us that the whole working class is not connected under a single banner where they can collectively call for mass mobilization and solidarity, in order to push for demands and have revolutionary change. This is relevant due to the fact that the different rallies and demonstrations had more in common than not. This sudden outburst of people’s willingness to take part in multiple demonstrations may cause us to recognize the need for a movement that has the working class under a single diverse and powerful movement.


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