Posted by: janvozenilek | February 16, 2010

February 13, 2010 – Vancouver Olympic Winter Games

Day 5 – A quick trip to the IBC in the morning. With no interviews planned till the afternon, I headed back to the hotel. I noticed a police helicopter hovering in one spot over downtown, not too far from my hotel.  It was there for about 10 minutes and I wondered what it was doing there.

Then all of a sudden I heard all this noise and noticed all these people and police cars down on West Georgia. I grabbed my camera and headed down there. It was the continuation of the protest march, that made headlines today after windows were smashed at the downtown Bay store. There were hundreds of police officers, many of them in full riot gear with assault rifles.  I saw one protester get arrested.

Slowly people dispersed.  A really neat moment, was when I was standing next to three police officers, as they spoke with one of the protesters. Very calmly the officer explained how he actually agrees with their message, regarding the government cutbacks to art programs, schools and social programs, but that he has a family and a mortgage to pay and that he has a job to do…. that protesting is ok, but doing damage to private property and endangering people is not ok.

Then I bumped into this sweetheart… with his antique film cameras… snapping away photos.

I left and walked up the hill towards Robson Street. As soon as I got there, I noticed a large group of protesters marching up Robson. Banging drums, singing…  no police in sight.

Then all of a sudden at Jarvis Street, a line of officers ran into Robson and formed a line.  During the commotion, I saw a camera operator get pushed backwards and tripped over a bike. A short confrontation followed as he yelled back at the police that he was with the press. I got that scene on video and will try to upload that clip in the coming days.

The protesters kept dancing and signing. Then all of a sudden, another line of police, in full riot gear, formed a line from the other side of the protesters. Now we were all sandwiched in, including me.

Then all of a sudden, without warning, the top police line started marching forward and down the hill, pushing all the protesters forward.  I crossed the police line after showing them my badge and they let me out.   It was surreal to watch the tactical moves these guys were doing, to contain this group of people. The upper police line kept moving down the hill, until they were able to push them down into one of the side streets, off Robson. While all this was happening, two planes and a police helicopter were continuously hovering over head.

Then there was this guy… straight out of a Hollywood movie.

At that point I left and headed back up to my hotel room. I took a peak out of the balcony and saw another batch of officers, marching up Robson Street, from Denman.  A well organized brigade.

—-

And here is some of the video footage from this protest

PLEASE NOTE THERE IS SOME INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE IN THESE VIDEOS


——

I packed up my things and headed to the IBC. I thought I’d try the shuttle from the hotel, which is supposed to come every half hour. No bus came so I walked.  Just at that time, Jennifer, Lukas and Jakub were on route to the hotel via a cab, which they took from the Greyhound bus station on Main Street. They were coming down for the weekend to take in some of the excitement.   We texted back and forth which road they were on and ended up bumping into them on West Georgia. The cab driver pulled over and it was nice to see them say hi.  They’ll be staying in my hotel room for a couple of nights. I had a cot brought in for an extra $20/night so it was great option for them to be right downtown.

In the pouring rain, I made it to the IBC, but was shocked by the number of people that were now in front of that building. They were all there to see the Olympic Cauldron. Unfortunately, and as a shock to many, it is barricaded behind a 3 meter tall chain link fence.  Supposedly VANOC is working on finding a solution to replace it with something a bit nicer…. how about nothing?!!  So people can go up to it and see it!

The early afternoon interview was canceled last minute so I then walked back up to Robson and had sushi with Jennifer and the boys.  On the way I bumped into our friends and neighbors from Steveston, Barry and Lana. Small world.

After our lunch, we all walked down to see the cauldron. Took some photos and then I had to go back to the IBC. On the way Jennifer noticed a row of parked minivans, and each was full of Police officers. They were  all unmarked Police vans… We did a brief count for fun and  there was 20 of them… and they were all simply just sitting there, on standby, waiting for something to happen.

Jennifer and the boys then left to walk around and met up with friends.  I left to go the Czech house, where we did three more interviews with athletes.  The logistics of pleasing the major sponsors has been interesting.  Proper logo placement behind the set and making sure they all get ample coverage.    We wrapped up at about 10:30pm. Then drove to IBC  to drop the disk off for the transfer.  Made it back to the hotel by about midnight.

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Responses

  1. Wow! Those are some awesome pictures, esp that one guy with the crazy gun!
    Stay safe:)

  2. I’m rivitted (sp?) by your experience with the protesters and the police, Jan. and, got real nervous when you said you were inside that containment with the other protesters, but fortunately, you had your ID. A tense situation!!! Thanks for sending this to everyone…
    H, Lorna

  3. Nice shots Jan. You “Run and Gun” with the best of them.
    G

  4. Wow, You had a great and busy day.
    I spent Monday riding the blue lift at Manning with the Russian team and watching the sweet skiing they were doing.
    So cool!
    I tryied to talk to one of them but we both figured out real fast that I don’t do Russian and they don’t do English.
    So it was smile, wave and nod.
    By the way, the Streak-the-streak is running this year and Manning has new management. End of March.

  5. it is quite amazing that this is all happening in our country. but then again, i am familiar with what happens when one becomes attached to one’s views. i am sure that the protesters are quite committed and very attached to their views. i am also quite sure that the views that the police have are quite entrenched. hence, potentially great suffering could result. i loved your comments about the officer remaining calm and being straight up with the protester. and, i loved the photos which tell a great strory. thanks for that jan.

  6. […] – Photos from this protest can be viewed here […]


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