Anyone else been reading up on the UBC kids who got themselves arrested on Friday?
When I was attending UBC back in the early 90’s (yeah, I’m middle aged) the protests were over part of (now named) Pacific Spirit Park, which was cleared for development. Who lives in the development? Not students. Are you kidding? These are pricey, gorgeous units (in my dreams would I live there). At the time, I was hardcore right wing, and much more interested in my grades (law student wannabe) than those protesters with nothing better to do.
Having now seen Vancouver become a city where basic homes are out of price range for your average citizen who works here (I was one of the lucky ones who bought early) I look at the current protests through different eyes.
Best as I understand it, the protest wasn’t really about the ‘grassy knoll’. The knoll was symbolic of further development – and not for student housing, but more high-end development (presumably to fund UBC’s ongoing expenses). That touches a nerve with me. I might be tempted to protest, too, now.
After a peaceful day of protest, some of the students lit a bonfire, and claim that this particular space does not have bylaws against it.
Enter the firemen, who were blocked by the kids – are the kids drunk? being immature idiots? or asserting themselves?
So the RCMP arrived. They arrested two students, then released one. The other students linked arms around the police car still detaining the other student, and sat there, arms linked, for a couple hours. Things went downhill then, and by the end, 19 students were pulled out of the linked-arms-ring and arrested. The students claim the police moved in on them with heavy-handed tactics.
I’ve seen police be wonderful (!) in the dtes, so am reluctant to ask this … but ….
Doesn’t it seem kind of … weird… that some kids protesting development of exclusive property on a uni campus, who buit a bonfire … resulted in 19 students being arrested and held over the weekend? And isn’t accusing them of ‘assaulting’ a police person stretching it a bit?
And why are canadian citizens so quick (see comments left on any mainstream coverage) to diss them as ‘treehuggers’, ‘idiots’ etc.? What if they (some or all) are intelligent, informed, and genuinely concerned about something we should all be concerned about? What if they aren’t “professional protesters” but kids who believe they should have a say in how society organizes itself? Even if they kinda lost control of themselves a bit?
Yeah, maybe they were awkward, rowdy, rude (watch for the f-the-p’s) and didn’t know when to stop. And maybe some of their motives were muddied.
But for those of us who were cozily home enjoying “BSG” on tv … I think the least we can do is give them a break already and layoff the dismissive comments. They’re doing what we should all be doing more of: getting informed, getting involved, speaking out.