Chanting “We ain’t got no tickets!” and “Homes Not Games,” more than 1,000 protesters swept through downtown Vancouver toward the Olympic opening ceremony Friday but were held back by police before they could block spectators from entering the celebration.
Billed as an action “against capitalism and colonization,” the first of two major street rallies mobilized demonstrators ranging from aboriginal rights groups to advocates for the homeless, all aiming to mount one of the biggest-ever organized protests against the Olympic Games.
“There’s never been an Olympic protest like this. This is a first,” said Chris Shaw, spokesman for 2010 Watch, which claims Canadian citizens are bearing the brunt of the multibillion-dollar cost of a sporting event they say will benefit land developers and corporate sponsors.
“It was one of the largest rallies in Vancouver history, and the protest led right up to the door of the [International Olympic Committee],” Shaw said.