Sunday, December 20, 2009

20 December: Media Update

Day of

“Toronto Heats Up as Torch Reaches Downtown”

- Where we get more attention than a Golden Globe nominated director! Also ridiculous typo: “No One Is Legal” instead of “No One Is Illegal”

“Protesters Block Olympic Torch Relay”

- Use the general callout (instead of press release!) to give reasons for Olympic resistance – one of the only news outlets to use it, in fact.

“Update: Protests force Olympic torch diversion downtown”

- They mention a protest, someone’s angry reaction, and nothing about our cause or why we are protesting.

“Toronto torch route blocked by protestors”

- Another short mention that a protest happened, but nothing else.

“Protest causes blip in Toronto torch run”

- Same article as the National Post’s.

“Olympic torch delayed by Toronto protesters”

- Also took parts of the Call out.

“Olympic torch gets warm welcome to Toronto, but group of protesters block route”

- Also very similar to the National Post article. Taken from Canadian Press. Doesn’t mention reason for protest.

“Olympic torch relay travels down Yonge St.”

- Another brief mention of protest.

Day after

“Olympic torch relay hits trouble”

- Much of the same quotes used as the day of the relay, but it does give some of the reasons for protest, has a quote from one of our spokespeople, and a disagreeing, though more moderate, quote from an onlooker.

“Love for an old flame”

- The title really says it all. They incorrectly state that most of the protesters were native, that there were only 100 total, though they change it paragraphs later to say 200, then apparently only ask a police official what the protest is about – who, of course, says he doesn’t know.

“Olympic flame winding through”

- Very short, again takes lines from the call out. First one to mention any arrests. Mostly just talks about how there are no disruptions today.

“Olympic torch begins second-leg of T.O. run”

- Gives more information about the arrests. Very brief mention of rationale behind protest. Seemed more concerned with the arrest part.

“Olympic torch relay encounters protesters in Toronto”

- First international coverage I’ve come across. Ironically, Chinese journalists seem to know more about why the protest happened than Canadian ones.

“Akshay’s marathon interrupted”

- As the title implies, primarily focuses on Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar and how his run was interrupted. No mention of reasons for protests.

“Akshay runs for Canadians in -8’C”

- From India Times. They mostly talk about Akshay, obviously, but they do mention the protests and some of the motives behind them.

Yahoo Sports 


Thursday, December 17, 2009

We did it!

(report back and some media)

20 December: New media added

Over 250 people took to the streets Thursday night to welcome the Olympic Torch with a resounding: “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land”
Enthusiastic folks met up at 5:15 at College & University, gathering around a 15 foot homemade torch of our own, banners reading “Resist 2010 for the land”, “No 2010 Torch” and sharing in some homemade food. Organizers from Six Nations read the Declaration of the Onkwehonwe of Grand River Territory on the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, Doreen Silversmith also from Six Nations spoke about how the attacks on women are attacks on the land and Mark C. from ARA spoke of Indigenous Youth rising up and taking power. Messages of Solidarity were delivered by No One Is Illegal-Toronto, No Games Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo’s own Torch Welcoming Committee.

Grounding the crowd in the reasons we were here: to decry Canada’s colonial violence and expose the lies of Olympics Circus, chants began that would ring through Toronto all night. While the cold seeped, our MC got the crowd jumping and amped to go meet the torch.

Anticipating the torch taking a lil’ streetcar ride, people took to College Street. The first line of bike cops at College and Elizabeth set up as we began a fluid game of cat and mouse. Our people took some surprise routes towards Yonge and Gerrard where we regrouped and faced a row of riots cops, holding the intersection. We gathered at the line of cops and turned back suddenly, going North, walking up Yonge St. to meet the Torch. At Yonge and College we ran into the crowds there to cheer on the Torch some of whom started booing and hissing. We handed out thousands of pieces of ORN and No2010 literature and some people even joined our action. One onlooker pushed over our speaker. The horses arrived and tried to split us in two but that failed. Then a small group stayed back at Yonge and College, while the rest of the street party walked North, slowing to regroup and coming closer to the Torch. At Yonge and Maitland, we decided to stop and hold it, as people from the back rushed to join us. With messages streaming in that the media were reporting we had blocked the Torch and having chased the torch around the city for nearly two hours (it was now 7:30), we euphorically declared victory! We had forced VANOC to split the Torch in to two, and brought our message right to the centre of the Olympic Circus.

While all of this was going on, the March in Honour of Harriet Nahanee, led by indigenous women, had split off to follow the torch into Nathan Phillips Square, where a climber free climbed an arch directly opposite the stage and hung a banner reading “Gego Olympics Da-Te-Snoon Nishnaabe-Giing Ga-Gmooding” (No Olympics on Stolen Native Land in Anishinaabemowin). Our people had infiltrated the crowd, holding up banners and handing out flyers, and booing the flame as it left Nathan Phillips Square around 9:30pm. The banner stayed up till the end of the festivities and the climber only got a $100 ticket.

Two arrests were made when two protesters ran alongside the Torch following the disruption at Yonge and Maitland. They were released later that night.

We stole the Torch’s thunder, with CTV, NDNTV, APTN, City, the Globe, the Star, the Sun, Now Magazine and some Ryerson folks reporting on the disruption and relaying the message that we took to the streets demanding justice for indigenous peoples, an end to corporate domination and the truth about “Canada’s” ongoing policies and practices of colonialism. Though there has been a serious damper being put on the size and effect of our actions, everyone on the streets of Toronto heard us last night.

This protest was organized by an autonomous group of people coming together for this occasion, and showcased a broad spectrum of Toronto’s resistance. As we head into 2010, we urge folks to support Six Nations as they stand up and block the Torch from entering their territory on December 21st, to head to Kitchener-Waterloo on December 27th, to converge on Vancouver from February 10-15th, and to start thinking about your plans for the G8/G20 meetings in June. Overheard during the street party: “Man, the G20’s coming here, and we can’t even handle this!”, cop.

‘See you in the streets.

Some Media:
(note, if you took pictures or video on Thursday night, please email them to

[20 Dec Media Update]

1) Independent Journalist:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


17 December 2009
North East Corner of College and University


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why we must block the Torch

Olympics are like Christmas: they might pretend to have a noble origin, but nowadays they are so diluted by commercial interests that the noble goal has all but disappeared. However, in contrast to the December celebrations, the Olympics are not powered by small enterprises, but by giant consortiums building highways, transit systems and sports stadiums. While parading across town pretending to spread Olympic goodwill, they are actually riding the crazy train of greedy corporations invading Native territories with the help of the government.

The Olympic Torch Relay is a $25 million publicity stunt that uses nationalism and feel good imagery to promote the Games. Beginning in October, the Torch will pass through over 1,000 communities in its 45,000km journey across Canada before the launch of the 2010 Games in Vancouver in February. Even though VANOC states that « The Olympic Flame has a sacred history and symbolizes the principles of peace, brotherhood and friendship », in fact the Torch Relay finds its origins in the Nazi Olympics of 1936, in which young Aryan looking runners brought the torch to Berlin.

But while the torch is fanning a national infatuation with the Olympics, it also provides an extraordinary opportunity to inform the whole country about the damages done by the Games in British Columbia.

Impacts on indigenous peoples: The vast majority of land in B.C. is unceded Native territory, unlawfully occupied by B.C. and Canada. By Canadian and international law, Native title exists unless yielded by treaty. Even if we take into account flawed treaties, little of B.C. is covered by nation to nation agreements.

Yet instead of taking steps to meaningfully address its role in a colonial occupation, the B.C. government prefers to invest in a 17 day party which has created large scale infrastructure on unceded and undeveloped territory. Examples include the widening of the Sea to Sky Highway through Squamish territory and critical wetland habitat, the expansion of the Sun Peaks ski resort on Secwepemc traditional territory, and the construction of parking lots in Whistler on Squamish and Lil'wat land.

“Security” and Eroding Civil Liberties: Increased political repression and security buildups accompany all modern Games. With a $1 billion security budget, Vancouver Games organizers (VANOC) are bringing together a security force of at least 16,500 Canadian military, border guards, private security, police, RCMP, and CSIS agents (plus foreign security). This may sound like a lot, but in fact, these estimates are unrealistically low: the Sydney Games had 35,000 police and security (4 cops per athlete) with 4,000 troops and commando units, and the Athens Games had 70,000 police, security,
and military forces.

Vancouver has plans for at least 40 km of crowd control fencing, video surveillance, and airport style security zones around the city, including on public property. The monitoring and intimidation of political opposition has already begun. Vancouver City Council has complied with the IOC's request to create an environment free of protest (Section 51 of the Olympic Charter) by enhancing bylaws to restrict posters, signs, leaflets, demonstrations, noisemakers, and any possible “disturbance” to Olympic entertainment. There is no guarantee that these elements – video surveillance, new security bodies and policing rules, and the criminalization of protest – will not become permanent.

Housing impact: There is ample evidence that construction and land speculation related to the Olympics have fueled Vancouver's housing crisis. Single room occupancies (cheap hotels) and affordable rentals are being torn down or converted to high priced housing, while the City lends money to build Olympic condos. Promises of affordable housing and shelter spaces are rarely met by host cities, and Vancouver has already admitted that its own commitments will not be met. In fact, since winning the Olympic bid in 2003, we have lost over 850 low income housing units, and homelessness in the city has tripled. Salt Lake City Games promised 2500 units of affordable housing and created only 150; prior to Sydney’s Games, tenant evictions increased 400%; and Calgary failed to build any of its pledged social housing.

While the inhabitants of B.C. suffer these consequences, the public money invested by the city of Vancouver, the city of Whistler, the B.C. government and the Canadian government (including other provinces) is now nearing $7 billion. New economic estimates show that the economic benefits to the host region are unlikely to exceed $4 billion. As the experience of other host cities demonstrates, much touted infrastructure projects rarely bring in future revenue. We already know that the $2 billion sky train line built for the Olympics will run at a deficit of at least $20 million per year until 2025. We have yet to reckon with the social costs of this year's massive cuts to health care, childcare,
arts and education.

With the specter of financial crisis raising its head again, governments have shown that they are prepared to plunge into deficit to keep their corporate friends afloat. If the government can hand us the Olympic sized bill of a two week corporate party without opposition, the next years will be bleak. But it is up to you to ignite the torch of resistance, especially since highly priced paid with your taxes flames are within reach...

Check out for extensive information
(Indigenous anti-Olympics website in the Olympic Resistance Network).
Please email to be added to the ORN-nnounce list, a low-traffic (2-3 emails amonth) digest of events, meetings and updates.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

March in Honour of Harriet Nahanee to Resist the Olympic Torch

March in Honour of Harriet Nahanee to Resist the Olympic Torch


On December 17th, in Toronto (Mississauga Territory) Indigenous women will march in the streets in honour of Harriet Nahanee, the Pacheedaht elder and activist who died as a result of being jailed for refusing to apologize for resisting the olympics.

Her death gave birth to a movement, and sounded the call for thousands to join in what is becoming a uniting struggle against colonialism, fascism, injustice, poverty, land grabs in urban centres and in sovereign territories, civil rights violations, and violence against women.

When women become empowered, a struggle becomes a movement. When Indigenous peoples unite, movements gain momentum. When Indigenous women are empowered in unity, the human narrative changes course.

So here's the plan: This is a call for Indigenous women, and supporters to come out on December 17th, 4pm at the southeast corner of Dundas and Yonge, to honour her resistance with a peaceful convergence on the olympic torch as it is "celebrated" by the city of Toronto.

Wear the colour red: the colour Harriet wore on the day she was arrested, and one of the four sacred colours which represents Indigenous peoples. Bring a picture of Harriet (you can print one out) or a picture of any woman who has sufferd violence for her political actions, or just for being a woman.

Time and place may change, please keep checking frequently for updates.

We stand in solidarity with the many marches which protest violence against women, especially the "Women's Memorial March" that is held annually in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver each year on February 14th to honour abused, missing or murdered women, and which even now, is being threatened and harassed by VANOC and the City of Vancouver, because it coincides with the olympics.

We stand in solidarity with Mapuche women in Chile, fighting to resist the destructive takeover of their traditional land by EU-Chile free trade agreements, political prisoners, hunger strikers, our sisters in struggle.

We stand in solidarity with the youth of Six Nations, the traditional peoples of the unceded and unsurrendered St'at'imc nation, Secwepemc youth fighting the Sun Peaks Resort development on their sacred mountain, Skwelkwek’welt, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and Sharbot Lake, the Zapatistas, and all other Indigenous peoples all over the world resisting the rape of our mother earth, and the land and water sustaining us.

Come join us on December 17th, at the southeast corner of Dundas and Yonge in Toronto, at 4pm. Wear something red (and warm!) and bring a picture. Banners, signs, drums, etc. welcome. Peaceful protest only, children and families are welcome.

Video call-out is here:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Details of Toronto Block the Olympic Torch Rally

Please check back on - final locations and times will be updated here!

Come one! Come All!

Pull out your brightest (and warmest) threads! Put on your shiniest (and fastest) shoes and wheels!

Expose the Olympic Circus! Block the Olympic Torch!
- a massive street circus you don't want to miss -

17 December 2009
North East Corner of College and University
Time and location may change. Check frequently


The Olympics Torch is about colonial theft of indigenous land; corporate profit grabbing; ecological destruction, militarization and migrant exploitation.

Take up the fight for Indigenous Sovereignty! Migrant Justice! Climate Justice! Income Equality!

Dress up as your favourite rejected Olympics mascot Sassy the Stolen Ceremony, Bitie the BedBug, Dean the Deforester, Gary the Green Washer. Bring music, food and friends.

Are you an organizer? An amazing planner? Have a flair for crafts? COME to the planning meets and prop making days. Details follow

If you are not from Toronto and wondering if you should come, you SHOULD.

Toronto is seeing massive cuts to housing, social services, and increased attacks on poor, migrant, unemployed and underemployed communities. It is also hosting the 2010 G8/20 Leaders Summit and the 2015 Pan-Am Games, all projects to attack people's sovereignty and self-determination. All attacks that we resist. Olympic Resitance is part of that struggle.

Come HEAR from members from the Native Youth Movement (Coast Salish Territories) on December 5, 7:00pm, 95 Charles Street West!

More on the Olympics:

Planning Meetings: 3 & 10 Dec, 6pm, 252 Bloor West
Costume/Prop/Silk Screening/Banner Parties: Dec 7 (4-8pm); Dec 8 (5-9pm); Dec 13 (2-6pm). 100 Devonshire Place. – email

Organized by the Toronto Extinguish the Torch Committee